by Joseph Berger
Robots invaded the lobby of the McConnell Building last Thursday.
With help from Concordias Institute of Electrical and Electronic
Engineers (IEEE), the Robowars student committee invited robotics students
from across Quebec to take part.
At one time an annual event, Robowars has not been held at Concordia since
1998. Last June, though, engineering students David-John Palazzo, vice-chair
of IEEE Concordia, and Mario Ciaramicoli, president of the Engineering
and Computer Science Association, participated in a robotics competition
They had stopped holding the event because of a lack of people to
organize it, said organizer Cedric Viou, but last year, David
went to Calgary and decided to bring Robowars back here so people can
Viou, a Concordia exchange student from France, explained the two types
of competition. For the Solar Roller, people have to build a small
robot that is powered only by solar energy, he said. The robot
must fit inside a 10-by-10-centimetre box. The winner is the first robot
that gets to the other end of the track.
The key lies in the design. They have to try to make a very light
robot, using big enough solar panels and as few electronics components
as possible, to make the robot a little smarter, Viou explained.
Robot sumo wrestling is the invention of a Japanese scientist, Dr. Mato
Hattori. The contest involves two robots trying to forcefully remove each
other from a wooden plank measuring 1.8 metres in diameter. The robots,
which came in both the radio-controlled and auto-nomous varieties,
were not allowed to fatally wound each other.
The sumo robots are in a ring, and they have to push their opponent
out of that ring just by contact, Viou explained. No chemical
weapons or that kind of stuff, just robots, he added with a chuckle.
The teams were given points for a variety of criteria: aesthetics, strategy,
ability and design, with winner walking away with a cool $1,000 for the
Sumo Wrestling and $500 for the Solar Roller.
Charles Alex took home the big prize in the Sumo category, while Enia
Tee, a Concordia Arts student, was the Solar Roller champion. Sumo Wrestling
runners-up Jason Levine, Jacob Shenker and Richard Dias, all from Westmounts
St. Georges high school, were confident.
We are going to win because we have massive amounts of torque which
are delivered to our robots by two old Mercedes Benz power window motors,
said Levine, prior to the competition. This is the only robot here
powered by authentic German automobile parts, he added.
Alas, the German engineering was only good enough for a second-place finish.