Tech students battle robots

April 5, 2013


Staff Reporter


Fans of TV shows like “Battlebots” and “Robot Wars” will be excited to learn that a robot fighting competition will be coming to Tech.



The bracket-style tournament will pit the entrants’ robots together in one-on-one showdowns to see which one will be left in the ring.


“The event is a lot like the TV shows,” said Hollis Scriber, one of the event coordinators. “It’s just less dangerous.”


Scriber, a junior electrical engineering major, said that the event is more along the lines of sumo wrestling than a deathmatch.


“The point is to push your opponents’ robot out of the ring,” he said. “It is just a way to have fun.”


He said the competition is an attempt to bring something new to Tech.


“To my knowledge, we have not ever had anything like this here,” Scriber said. “We are trying to show people the fun side of robotics.”


Scriber said that he hopes this event becomes an annual occurrence.


“I don’t know if it will be back next year,” he said. “But I really hope so. I think it can really help out people that want some hands-on experience with robotics.”


Hollis came up with idea with his friend Daniel Rhodes, a junior electrical engineering major, and the two will be serving as event coordinators.


“It started out as just a fun idea,” Rhodes said. “We just came up with it driving home from work one day, and the more we thought about, the better an idea it seemed.”


Rhodes said that one of his regrets was not being able to compete in the event.


“I don’t really think I should be competing and be behind the judges table,” Rhodes said. “It would just be a conflict of interest, and want it to be fair.”


Their original idea of an event that was more along the lines of a demolition derby was vetoed for insurance reasons, said Rhodes.



“We had to kind of rethink it,” he said. “We aren’t trying to kill anybody. There won’t be saws or open flames.”


The event is sponsored by the Institute for Electrical and Electronic Engineers, an organization that has normally stayed within the engineering college.


“This event is open to everybody,” Rhodes said. “We’re trying to bring in and unite different majors. We’re even trying to bring in some local high school students.”


The event is also attracting some backers, Rhodes said.


“The Air Force has offered $500 to the first-place winner,” he said. “They are getting back to us about prizes for the second- and third-place winners.”


One person hoping to bring home the $500 prize is Hudson Smith, a senior electrical engineering major.


“I am debating on whether or not to go for a head-on approach, or use some deceit,” Smith said. “But, of course I can’t tell you all my secrets.”


Smith said that the contest will be difficult, and that there are some people competing who he is anxious about.


“I don’t think that I’m just going to go in and cream everybody,” he said. “I’m going to have to work pretty hard to be ready for the contest to begin with.”


Smith said that this event will be helpful to people who would like to hone their skills in robotics.


“It takes all this programming, all this stuff you’ve learned, and brings it into the real world,” he said.


“You can’t just go out and buy a robot; you’ve got to build one.”


The prize money is another incentive for people to compete, Smith said.


“If you’re at all interested in winning money, you should go,” he said. “Besides that, it’s just going to be awesome.”


Email comments to jts040@latech.edu.



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