The tension in the ring heightens as the referee counts down to the beginning of the competition. Three. Two. One. With the push of a button the battle is on.
Yes, you read that right: push of a button.
High school students from across the province were at Saskatchewan Polytechnic Kelsey Campus in Saskatoon fighting for SUMOBot supremacy at the eighth annual My Robot Rumble on April 14. Among the 236 participants were seven teams from Greater Saskatoon Catholic Schools:
- Miguel De Los Reyes, Justin Vo and Jiggs Miguel, team Husky-Corgi from E.D. Feehan High School
- Sebastian Mitchell and Erik Burzinski, team Easy As Pi from E.D. Feehan High School
- Carter Blockas and Dominic Sarty, team Tiny Rick from Bishop James Mahoney
- Leo Blockas and Jeremy Gee, team Corn Queens from Bishop James Mahoney
Each team constructed their 10 cm robot from a kit. They built, programmed and tested their robot, getting it ready to shove their competitor's bot out of the small circular ring.
Dane James estimated he and his Dane James Kumaran teammates spent about 30 hours on their robot. "Building it took about two hours. The programming is time consuming," he said.
Cooper Tropeau added, "It's cool to see the progress, to see it come alive after fixing problems with the programming."
Matthew Thompson and Matthew Weeks (team Ogreclocked), in their second year of the competition, concurred, saying the programming is what took most of the time for them to rebuild their bot from the bottom up. Their innovative design dropped a platform intended to get under their opponent's robot, taking away any leverage and traction, and making it easier for their robot to push the competition out of the circle.
For Grade 9 students and first time competitors Sebastian Mitchell and Erik Burzinski (team Easy as Pi), their strategy to flip their opponent's robot wasn't as successful as they had hoped, losing their first match. With less than 10 minutes between matches, they had little time to tweak the programming and work out some bugs.
After all the preparation, round robin matches and last minute fixes, teams Ogreclocked, Superbad and Tiny Ricks made it to the championship round, with Tiny Ricks tied for sixth in their pool, Superbad tied for fifth in their pool, and Ogreclocked took third in their pool.
Pictured: Matthew Thompson and Matthew Weeks, team Ogreclocked from St. Joseph High School