Last Friday, more than 50 guests gath­ered as the North­eastern NUTRONS unveiled their team robot, which will com­pete against other robotics teams in Mass­a­chu­setts. Founded in 1998, the NUTRONS are a Northeastern-​​sponsored team of engi­neering and high school stu­dents with an interest in STEM (sci­ence, tech­nology, engi­neering and math) sub­jects who work together to build robots.

This year, more than 20 North­eastern engi­neering stu­dents ded­i­cated their time and helped 25 high school stu­dents – from Boston Latin, Catholic Memo­rial and Brook­line High School – design and build a robot with a set of mate­rials and rules in a six-​​week period.

Under the super­vi­sion of fac­ulty advisor Don Goldth­waite, the group worked at night and on week­ends to build this robot, which will com­pete against 52 other robots in the FIRST (For Inspi­ra­tion and Recog­ni­tion of Sci­ence and Tech­nology) Boston Regional Robotics Com­pe­ti­tion in March 2009. If the team advances, they will be com­peting in the national com­pe­ti­tion this April in Atlanta.

The 2009 com­pe­ti­tion is called “Lunacy,” in cel­e­bra­tion of the 40th anniver­sary of the United States landing on the moon.

The NUTRONS also help other local area teams that don’t have the nec­es­sary resources to com­plete their robots, pro­moting an envi­ron­ment of sup­port and assis­tance to enhance the expe­ri­ence of others in the com­pe­ti­tion. “Ask a NUTRONS Engi­neer” is a pro­gram cre­ated at North­eastern to respond to ques­tions and con­cerns of local robotics enthu­si­asts who can email their ques­tions and receive a response within 24 hours from a North­eastern engi­neering student.

This year’s NUTRONS team is one of the biggest to date, and they hope to con­tinue to expand in the coming years.