UMaine Sophomore is Mr. Roboto 

Wayne Harvey

As UMaine student Jack Bruce nears the end of his sophomore year, he’s doing so with the praise of his professors.But it’s not because of how he did in class, it’s for something he did on his own outside of the classroom.”Turn this on” With the flip of a switch, Jack Bruce’s robot springs to life. “It should stand up on it’s own now, just adjust the legs there.”Bruce said the idea to build this six legged hexapod robot came about very simply. “I felt like I wanted a robot and I was looking around on the internet and I didn’t want to pay a couple thousand dollars for it, so I got the parts that I could and I built my own.”But he says the execution of the idea wasn’t so simple. It was time consuming. “It was more days than hours, I’d say about eight weeks all in all with working on it probably fifty hours or so in body construction and then 100 or so hours of coding.” “It was more difficult than I expected it to build, but I knew I’d do it anyway. I just had to do it.” He took apart an old video game, used the controller, found some spare parts and after about 250 dollars out of pocket, he had his robot. This was all done in his spare time. It wasn’t a class project, but it has caught the eye of the professors in his department, including Associate Professor Paul Villeneuve. “One of the things we hope our students get out of this is a willingness to try different things and learn new things and take what they have and put it into their practice. So Jack doing his own work is really an opportunity for him to take that little snippet of what he learned and really just expand upon it.”In the two weeks that he’s had it operation, Jack has already made some changes, and he has more tweaks in the works. “I plan in the future to put a set of jaws on it so I can go and pick up a soda can or something and maybe even hook it up to a WiFi so I can control it from a laptop.”