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Robots battle in Union

Posted On : December 3rd, 2008

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Chaos, destruction, math and science were fused together at Sacramento State as the Competitive Robotics Club held a Robo Rumble in the University Union Ballroom.

Members of the club had their robots there to show people how they built them, how to use them and answer any other questions people may have had.

"We just want everyone to have a good time and become interested in something fun and educational, especially all the little kids here," said Bryan Solare, senior mechanical engineer and president of Competitive Robotics.

The robots created by Competitive Robotics members were all ant-weights, which means they have to weigh less than a pound.

They differed in design and materials, but were all made for one function - to obliterate others.

Using things like old VCRs and computers, members of the club used their creativity and imagination to create mini destructive machines.

"The robots we've got here are as simple as two old cans put together and as complex as having a fan inside it that pushes it down to make it have more power," Solare said.

Brian Ho, sophomore civil engineering major, said that building robots is not as complicated as it seems and that basically anyone can do it.

Ho said that all it takes is some creative thinking and passion about what you're doing.

One could probably get a robot going with less than $200, and that includes a remote control, Ho said.

"You really just need a little patience and time, but anyone can build one if they put their mind to it," Ho said.

Nick Smith, junior mechanical engineer, said that Competitive Robotics is not just meant for engineering majors and anyone from any major can join and succeed.

"It really doesn't take much to build one and once you have one, it's a lot of fun," Smith said.

During the event, attendees were allowed to use and control the robots themselves while trying to destroy the other robots in the arena.

"It's not really about who wins or what robot is the best, it's just about having lots of fun and learning something while you're at it," said Nicholas Moore, senior history major.

Moore said that there isn't a club on campus that has more fun than Competitive Robotics.

"I've been in it for (more than) a year and events like these are really fun because we get to showcase all the hard work that we do," Moore said.

Most of the kids at the event were in awe of all the robots and toys they got to play with.

Their eyes lit up in joy and as they controlled the robot with the remote control's joysticks, their body and head would follow the motions.

David Kirrene said he read about the event in the paper and decided to attend with his son and his son's friend.

"My son had his friend sleep over the night before and this looked like something fun so I brought them," Kirrene said.

Keaton Kirrene, David's son, was ecstatic to be at the event and said he enjoyed being there with his friend.

Kids gathered around another miniature arena on the side that had some other robots that were built from kits.

"This is really fun! It's even better than video games!" Keaton said.

Glenn May, senior computer science major, said he really enjoyed seeing the faces of all the kids at the event and it made him feel really good about the work he puts in to these robots.

"It's great to see other people as excited about these robots as all of us are," May said.

Juanita Torrado took her son, Miguel, to the event. She said she was happy to be taking her son to a college campus and getting him interested in activities that take place on one.

"I want Miguelito to be interested in positive things like robots that are both fun and challenging enough to expand his mind," Torrado said.

In February the Competitive Robotics club members plan to do a much bigger event in which they invite other clubs to bring robots and individuals to put their machine to the ultimate test.

"We love to see others having fun with the same things that we get excited about; and if we can get the youth to become interested in engineering, that's even better," Solare said.

Andres Cuevas can be reached at

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