Robots engaged in battle on Saturday with tracks rolling and wheels turning thanks to the ingenuity of their young and older creators.
The Nelson Tech Club held Robogames 2014 at Selkirk College drawing a large crowd and with good reason. New to this year’s annual competition was the robo-battles, which saw the robots go head to head. The battle for robot supremacy was engaging and hard fought.
Participants were from Castlegar (Kinnaird Elementary, Stanley Humphries Secondary School, Twin Rivers Elementary), New Denver (Lucerne Elementary Secondary School) and Nelson (Nelson Waldorf and French School, Trafalgar Middle School, and L.V. Rogers Secondary School).
In preparation throughout the fall, youth, adults, teams and schools have been living, learning and loving robotics in anticipation of the big event.
All robots were created by an individual or team. And the level of sophistication was impressive. The competition had three main events: the obstacle course, special tricks and the robot battles.
Robots needed to maneuver the obstacle course as quickly and carefully as possible, navigating walls and corners which required logic. Creators were encouraged to be creative, demonstrating what made their robot awesome. New for the competition was the robowars where robots duked it out at the centre of the arena.
Judges also gave points for programming and logic. Whether it was Lego, Arduino or other materials, the robots were brought to life to navigate mazes, sense objects and even avoid obstacles.
Regardless if it was 3D printed, aerodynamically tested or built out of Popsicle sticks, the goal was to make the robot useful, mechanically inventive and functional, so judges also gave points for design and assembly. The judges also assessed its ability to problem solve and adapt to challenging situations.
As for tricks, one robot, created by Klassen and Furman, sang Happy Birthday.
Noah Graffran built a quad-copter drone for $150 that can drop things on target. Flown outside, his plan was to drop a chocolate bar on the judges. He said that, unfortunately, somebody ate it so he used a piece of plastic instead. Graffran has been part of the tech club for three years.
“There are creative, smart people in a mixture of ages,” he said. “There are tons of cool, interesting projects.”
Dylan Peil has been with the club for 2.5 years. He built his robot, named Munch, mostly out of recycled parts so the total cost was somewhere from $100-200. He said he likes the tech club because “you can ask anyone anything. If they don’t have the answer, they point out the person who will likely know.”
“This year, we’ve generated more interest in electronics, robotics and programming than in prior events,” said club president Brad Pommen.
“We introduced more freedom for teams to choose how they want their robot to work, as well as more design options to build their robot than in 2012 and 2013. With the positive feedback of 2014, the 2015 event will be a massive influence with an even larger reach into surrounding communities and schools.”
The club gets together every Wednesday and Thursday night. For more information visit robogames.ca or email NTC president, Brad Pommen at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Robogames 2014 Event Standings:
Youth (12 & under)
– Jaida Klassen (10) and Sydney Furman (12)
Second Place –
Carter Erickson (11), Ciaran Tanner (11) and James Price (11)
Student (over 12)
– Noah Rawick (16)
– Noah Gaffran (14), Evan Forst (14),
Matthew Holitzki (14) and Reece