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The synchronized sofa

Senior+Patrick+Sanchez+drives+a+motorized+sofa+around+the+track+using+an+Xbox+controller%2C+while+senior+Adam+Gordon+tries+to+keep+up.
Senior Patrick Sanchez drives a motorized sofa around the track using an Xbox controller, while senior Adam Gordon tries to keep up.

Senior Patrick Sanchez drives a motorized sofa around the track using an Xbox controller, while senior Adam Gordon tries to keep up.

Nick Plassmeyer

Nick Plassmeyer

Senior Patrick Sanchez drives a motorized sofa around the track using an Xbox controller, while senior Adam Gordon tries to keep up.

Grant Stegman, Staff Writer

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For seniors Patrick Sanchez, David Osterman and Karl Frank, robotics has been a part of their DeSmet life for four years. Their experience and knowledge sparked an idea that began in March.

“We’ve been joking ever since I joined Robotics about motorizing the couch,” Sanchez said. “We had some extra time at the end of our senior year Robotics and decided we might as well.”

After school, Osterman, Sanchez and Frank would put work into the project. The team mounted old robot controllers inside the couch on an electronics board attached to the couch.

“The Xbox controller plugs into their laptop,” Robotics coach Anthony Strawhun said. “The laptop then talks directly to the controller in the couch, and relays to the two motors underneath which allows them to move the couch in all directions.”

However the first product was originally supposed to move side to side.

“We had it so it could drive sideways through doors on its own,” Sanchez said. “But it is hard to make it drive both ways, the system was very complicated.”

The speed has not been tracked, but with the right man at the controls and the lowest amount of people on the couch, it can move.

“It depends on the battery, but it can get going,” Sanchez said, “I took [biology teacher Dr. Mariette] Baxendale for a ride yesterday, she thought it was plenty fast.”

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The synchronized sofa