Professor Woodie Flowers, of the MIT Mechanical Engineering department, hosts the 1981 competition for his famous “Introduction to Design” class — perhaps MIT’s most influential engineering course. The challenge is described in the syllabus: to “design and build a robotic system for putting a round peg in a square hole, while a competing system tries to put another peg into the same hole.”  Known originally as Course 2.70, this particular year’s competition was called “The MIT Arms Race.”

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