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Students and Alumni Working on Roboticized Pallet

students and alum working with robot

Photos by Heratch Ekmekjian; Video by Matthew Conde

Wentworth students are privy to some of the deepest industry connections in higher education thanks to various leaders who have partnered with the university. And students are consistently working on real-world projects, providing solutions to a host of industry challenges.

One innovative partnership currently taking place tackles the issue of global supply chains. Logic, a new venture by University Adviser Michael Santora, Architecture and Civil Engineering ’05, is aiming to change the shipping industry with a roboticized pallet and container made with recycled aluminum that would eliminate dangerous forklifts and wasteful wooden pallets, as well as reduce the size of warehouses by 40 percent.

“Currently, goods will come into Boston and get shipped hours away to get sorted and stored, only to be brought back to where we are. With this system, we can have real urban logistics with smaller warehouses located where the people are and reduce all of that shipping,” Santora said.

In order to bring the project to life, Santora is partnering with the Wentworth community, providing students and professors a chance to work on a live robot that could have long-lasting effects on the rest of the world.

"These students opened it up and knew pieces that even I didn’t know! And that’s the kind of thinking that I want because that’s the kind of thinking that’s going to give us the future,” said Santora. “We don’t want to be dealing with legacy technology; we want fresh minds looking to what’s next."

students and alum working with robot

For School of Engineering Dean Jose Sanchez and School of Computing and Data Science Dean Durga Suresh-Menon, the project allows multiple disciplines to come together and help create an innovative tool in a hands-on way.

“In this one project, there is a computer scientist, a mechanical engineer, and an electrical engineer working together with their students from even more majors talking about a robot that can be applied to so many different fields,” said Suresh-Menon. “We are not a school where people are talking about things in theory. Everything is application.”

Students like Trey Pierce, Electromechanical Engineering ’22, are working specifically on sensors for motion control and object avoidance.

“My hope is that by the end I will have a great understanding of both electro and mechanical systems and how they intertwine,” said Pierce. “I’m getting exposed to new techniques and technology, new ideas. I think this can really expand my horizons as an up-and-coming engineer.”