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MIT Technology Review

The Torque Was With Him

A victor is crowned in MIT’s annual robot competition.

June 27, 2017

If truth be told, Tom Frejowski ’19 got a little lucky in the Star Wars–themed robot competition that capped off this year’s 2.007 Design and Manufacturing class. Sure, he’d designed a robust, reliable, and completely autonomously controlled robot that consistently racked up 600 points in each round of head-to-head competition. (The 160 student-built bots earned points by completing such tasks as dumping Imperial Stormtroopers into a trench, activating a cantina band, or spinning up cylindrical thrusters on the wings of a replica X-Wing Starfighter.) ­Frejowski’s robot “even had the programmed capability to try to score, mess up, figure out it had messed up, and try again,” says Amos Winter, who co-teaches 2.007 with fellow mechanical engineering faculty member Sangbae Kim. But Richard Moyer ’19 had dominated the competition all night, topping 900 points in nearly every round. In the finals, however, Moyer’s bot faltered and Frejowski’s prevailed. In keeping with 2.007 tradition, Frejowski was hoisted up by Kim and Winter, better known on that day as Chewbacca and Darth Vader.­