Sierra College Students Win First Place at 2023 RoboGames
“Sparky” the Robot Beats Global Competitors
Students from the Sierra College Robotics Club won first place at RoboGames, the world’s largest open robot competition, held in Pleasanton, Calif., April 6–9, 2023, with their autonomous firefighter robot named “Sparky.”
The autonomous firefighter competition requires the robot to navigate an 8′ x 8′ model of a house, search the rooms to find a candle and extinguish it, all with no human assistance. At the last RoboGames in 2018, the Club took second place in autonomous firefighting, losing to a team from Egypt.
Designing, building and programming the robot required the students to master skills in advanced sensor technologies, high-tech motor control, and complex computer programming. These technologies are also used in real-world applications such as autonomous factory robots and self-driving cars and, in turn, helping prepare students for careers in robotics.
The Sierra College Robotics Club has a 15-year history of competing all over Northern California in events ranging from robot sumo, robot combat, autonomous firefighter, kinetic artbots and more. The students come from a variety of college majors including mechatronics, welding, engineering, physics, computer science, and art.
RoboGames (formerly Olympics of Robots) is an international robotics competition with more than 50 different events, including robot hockey, robot combat, robot kung-fu, and robot stair-climbing, as well as autonomous firefighting. The 2023 participants came from 16 different countries spanning the globe from Brazil to Japan, Germany, Ukraine, Saudi Arabia, and Nepal.