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Physics Major Earns Honors in
Robotics Competition

RELEASED: Oct. 10, 2007

EAU CLAIRE — A junior physics major from the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire earned second-place honors in an annual robotics competition that attracts participants from around the world.

Colin Karpfinger, Wauwatosa, placed second in a competition at the August DEFCON tournament, an event that attracted more than 7,000 computer security professionals, journalists, lawyers, federal government employees and others with an interest in computer code and architecture.

Contestants were required to build a computer controlled weapons platform that could detect white circles on a black background, and shoot them down, completely on its own.

The project entailed software and hardware development, Karpfinger said, noting that it was the first time he entered the competition. The software used a Webcam to bring in live video, and various algorithms to recognize the targets.

Karpfinger devoted about 200 hours and $300 to the competition, in addition to travel expenses to attend the event in Las Vegas.

"The competition caught my eye, and it seemed like a really cool thing to work on," Karpfinger said. "When you're very interested and excited about something, the hard work and motivation comes naturally. It was just a really fun project to explore."

Karpfinger will discuss his project and the competition during a presentation at 4:30 p.m. Oct. 18 in Room 007 of Phillips Science Hall.

-30-

JB

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