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Sierra College competes in world’s largest robot competition

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Robot teamThe Sierra College Robotics Club spent part of their spring break at RoboGames, the world’s largest robotic competition, held in San Mateo, CA. They competed in the 120-pound and 220-pound Combat Robot events, two of over 50 events held at RoboGames.

With mentoring by the Sierra College Mechatronics, Welding and Drafting departments, the students design and build these robots, then compete with them under extreme conditions. Similar to the TV series “Battelbots”, the robots fight each other inside of a steel-reinforced arena. Besides honing student’s technical skills such as precision motor control, electronics and welding, the students learn valuable life lessons about teamwork, task prioritization and meeting deadlines.

Each of the robots finished one win shy of a 50-50 win-loss record. This was a great result considering that none of the 6 students had ever competed at RoboGames before and that two of their fights were against the #1 and #2 combat robots in the world. Racking up a few wins was nice, but more important was the experience that the students had, meeting and sharing their love of building with other competitors from all over the world including Brazil, Japan, Mexico and England. “Everyone at RoboGames has a passion for learning about and applying technology. Sharing knowledge with other like-minded builders is a lot of fun. Plus the students are refining the skills that will allow them to have rewarding careers in the fields of electronics, electro-mechanical systems and metal fabrication.” says Professor Tony Osladil, the club’s advisor.

The club was not sure that they were going to be able to afford all of the parts, tools and travel costs involved with this event, but generous donations by Aerojet-Rocketdyne, US Bank and the Associated Students of Sierra College provided the financial support to make it possible. “Our sponsors enthusiastically support the hands-on education of the next generation of engineers and technicians that will build America’s infrastructure and manufacturing capabilities. We couldn’t have done this without them.” said Osladil.

Now that RoboGames is over until next year, the club is preparing two scaled-down electric race cars for Maker Faire in May. “We take children’s ride-on electric cars, completely rebuild the frame and electronics and have adults drive and race them. It is completely ridiculous and a lot of fun to watch.” says Osladil.

Links:

Sierra College Mechatronics Department: www.RealSkillsRealJobs.com

RoboGames: www.RoboGames.net

Maker Faire racing: http://www.powerracingseries.org/

US Bank: www.usbank.com

Aerojet-Rocketdyne: www.rocket.com

Photo: L to R (rear) Students Sahil Sharma, Tim Harmon, Connor Boule, Alex Norell. L to R (front) Lindsay Wommack, Prof. Tony Osladil (Advisor), Nate Mott

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