By Masaki Sugimoto

Garrett Chou and Evan Phibbs, sophomores in Engineering, felt that they wanted to be a part of a

community that helped people form robotics start-ups. They weren’t able to find what they were

looking for so they decided to form their own community.

Automata Robotics

Chou and Phibbs started Automata Robotics this semester. The group has a few consistent members so

far who all have an interest in robotics and are working together towards a common goal.

“The ultimate goal for us is to foster robotics start-ups and help those interested with finding co-

founders and coworkers to help people achieve their goals,” Chou said.

Currently, the group is working on a year-long project, which they hope to finish by April. The group

hopes to take their finished product to Robot Launch in Silicon Valley in April.

Robot Launch is an event hosted by Silicon Valley Robotics which is meant to encourage tech start-ups

to showcase their creations. In 2014, the event featured a series of robots that ranged from robotic toys

for children to robots that were made for industrial processes.

“The year-long project aims to create a real-time feedback system of swarm-bots which can accomplish

tasks in collaboration,” said Edden Rabin, senior in engineering. “The goal is for the controller to sit

behind a computer and wirelessly relay commands to a series of wheeled vehicles which can work

together to produce results.”

The Robot Launch is not the only event that Automata Robotics has their eye on. Chou and Phibbs

went to ThinkChicago last week with the goal of furthering the entrepreneurship aspect of their


ThinkChicago is an annual event in October which is held in Chicago. The primary purpose of the

event is to draw young people who are interested in tech start-ups together so they can learn from each

other and discuss their ideas with other entrepreneurs. ThinkChicago will feature a series of guest

speakers, all from different start-ups, to talk about their experiences with students.

Since Automata Robotics is a new RSO on campus, they are still thinking of interesting ways to do

fundraising. Today, the group will be having a small fundraiser where they will be selling baked goods

and iPhone 6 cases. The iPhone 6 cases are 3D-printed by members of Automata Robotics and they

will feature a series of designs. This fundraising event will be held at Anniversary Plaza from 10 a.m.

to 1 p.m.

Automata Robotics isn’t just for people who want to create their own start-up.

“I joined Automata Robotics to apply my knowledge and help others who are getting started with

hands-on engineering projects,” Rabin said.

The group is not exclusive to engineering students, people from any background are allowed to join.

“Anyone can join the group if they are interested, you don’t need to be worried if you don’t have the

knowledge,” said Phibbs. “We can teach you.”