Sumo-bot Competition Rounds Out Summer Robotics Camp

Jun 4, 2015

Lexington elementary school students took part in Sumo-bot competitions around Fayette County   Thursday, the conclusion to a three-day summer robotics camp.  Reporter Chase Cavanaugh has more.

Here in the gym of Morton Middle School, over 40 rising fifth graders have gathered to put their robotics skills to the test.  Over the past two days, the kids have learned how to build and program bots from lego NXT kits.  Split into teams of two, the students pit their creations against each other in a small circular arena.  The goal, program their bots to push out or flip over their opponent.  One participant, Marina, said it took some effort to get her team’s bot, the Meepster, battle ready.  

“We were a bit behind all along, but when we got to practice, we realized we needed more weight, and so we just kept on adding stuff and adding stuff and yeah, it got really amazing," she said. 

Morton Middle School Technical  Education instructor Alan Marksberry said this was the right approach.

“Some of those things work better, some of them don’t.  Actually, on sumo-bot competition, the simpler the robot, the better, so the lower the center of gravity and the heavier the bot, the better it pushes one off, off the board, that is.” 

Marina’s partner Adam was quite happy with their work, but wished he could have made some further adjustments. 

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“She didn’t like my idea of putting spikes on the car.”   

The Meepster would go on to win its first match, and face off against names such as Shredderbot, Robo1000, and Baymax.  While not every bot made it to the end of the tournament, much fun was had by all.

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“We were a bit behind all along, but when we got to practice, we realized we needed more weight, and so we just kept on adding stuff and adding stuff and yeah, it got really amazing.”  

Morton Tech Ed instructor Alan Marksberry said this was the right approach.

"On sumo-bot competition, the simpler the robot, the better, so the lower the center of gravity and the heavier the bot, the better it pushes one off, off the board, that is,” he said.

Marina’s partner Adam was quite happy with their work, but wished he could have made some further adjustments. 

“She didn’t like my idea of putting spikes on the car," he noted.  

The Meepster would go on to win its first match, and face off against names such as Shredderbot, Robo1000, and Baymax.  While not every bot made it to the end of the tournament, much fun was had by all.

More information on the annual robotics camp, which was also held at Beaumont, Crawford, and Windburn Middle Schools, can be found online at fcps.net/robotics.