RoboGames
Participants in the fourth annual RoboGames, held Saturday in Nelson, are seen above.— image credit: Submitted photo

Battle of the Kootenay bots

Nearly 30 teams with almost 50 competitors designed, built and programmed their robots to compete in the fourth annual RoboGames competition Saturday at Selkirk College’s Mary Hall in Nelson.

The categories included an obstacle course, which robots maneuvered as quickly and carefully as possible; a line following course, where robots followed the line from end to end with speed and accuracy judged; robot soccer 1-on-1, where competitors vied against an opponent to try to grab the most soccer balls to their side in two minutes.

In the special trick competition, competitors programmed their robot to do their evil, or not so evil, bidding by coming up with something cool and crazy — for example, dancing, telling a joke, or fetching an object. In robot battles, two robots entered the open arena to compete as gladiators in the ultimate destruction event. Judges determine the winner based on meaningful hits, overall match polarity and gamesmanship.

The majority of youth were ages 10 to 16, though some were as young as six. They worked on their robots within their schools, with parents or through community groups throughout a six week period beginning in early January. All told, 28 teams comprised of 48 youth from within the West Kootenay competed in the five different events.

Nelson had the largest representation, with 12 teams and 20 youth, followed by Castlegar with seven teams and 12 youth. New Denver and Rossland also contributed teams, as did the Lower Columbia Tech Club based in Trail.

Winners from each event, and winners within specialized categories including design, assembly, programming or creativity, won prizes donated by local businesses, the Nelson Tech club, and sponsors.

The top individual winner was Ben Carter, followed by runners-up Gavin Deane; top team Lucas Russell and Isiah Kotaras, with runners-up Caradoc Brennain and Dylan Peil, and Justin Ma and Brian Malito. Carter won the obstacle course, the team of Lily Kompass, Oliver Ridge, and Pablo Rivas won the line following, and Sydney and West Furman won the special trick competition. There was a tie between Carter and Deane tied in the robot battles.

Other awards went to A.J. Roberts (top programming and top awesomeness), Carter (top design and assembly), Kyle Craig and Myles Peterson (top creativity), Lucas Russell and Isaiah Kotaras (top problem solving), and Isaiah Brighton (top restarts and excess time). There was a three-way tie for top robot battle wins between Roberts, Carter, and the team of Aleks Ratynski and Braydon Heaney.

About three-quarters of the teams used the official kit provided by RoboGames, while the rest built customized robots.

More than 170 people attended the event.

RoboGames
Gavin Deane explains his robot’s special trick to judges. He placed second overall.
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Dylan Peil and Doc Brennain demonstrate the robotic hand that they created. They were first in special tricks.
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Matthew Holitzki and Noah Gaffran explain their soil testing robot.
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Lily Kompass, Oliver Ridge and Pablo Rivas demonstrate R2D2’s special tricks to judges. They were first in the line following event.
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All of the winners from Saturday’s competition.