Robot Battle Tournament Features Innovative Student-Made Designs

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Socorro High School students Andrew Moellenbrock, left, a ninth grader, and Jacob Breitha, a 10th grader, pose with their battle robots at the New Mexico Robot Battle Tournament held April 23 at New Mexico Tech, hosted by the university’s mechanical engineering department. Breitha said her robot had a unique “hammer” feature, which helped her perform well in her first competition.
Photo submitted

Middle and high school students from 40 New Mexico schools recently came together to show off the design, speed and agility of their mechanical creations in a robotic combat match. The New Mexico Robotic Battle Tournament, sponsored by the New Mexico Mechanical Engineering Technical Department, was held on April 23 at the university’s football field, attracting dozens of students, teachers , enthusiastic teachers and family members.

According to tournament organizer Curtis O’Malley, Ph.D., assistant professor of mechanical engineering, the robotic combat tournament is the culmination of months of research and preparation work done by New Mexico Tech students.

“New Mexico Tech students work as educational research assistants and develop curriculum content for middle and high schools, including design requirements, instructional content on coding, wiring, component selection, descriptions of electronic components, their function and purpose, as well as providing support for teachers and students in terms of helping out sessions or facilitating workshops in classrooms across New Mexico,” he said. -he declares. “All of this being flexible for the needs of each class, as each school and each student is unique and brings a different set of knowledge and prior experience.”

O’Malley said the combat robotics program helps New Mexico Tech students by training them to document and present technical content in a format that can be easily understood and evaluated by someone who is not yet engineer.

“Being able to give instructions to managers, suppliers and technicians who don’t have the same engineering background is an important job skill, and in this case, the New Mexico Tech student learns that skill and helps train the next generation of engineers who will be working with them in a few years.

While the program teaches students the basics of electronics and coding, they can also choose to build larger and more complex robots in different mediums where more technical design challenges are introduced into the project, according to O’Malley. .

“The goal of the program is to meet teachers and their class at their level and help them advance their math and engineering knowledge through an engaging project-based program that introduces an aspect of competition and excitement. “, did he declare. “While having a support system from New Mexico Tech students and faculty to help with troubleshooting or explain new content and concepts.”

Jacob Breitha, a 10th grade student at Socorro High School, said his robot, titled “Hand of God,” was designed with a unique hammer function to help him in his first competition.

“Everyone kept telling me it was their favorite,” he said.

Carlsbad High School’s MESA Club, advised by engineering and physics teacher Jason Butts, used 3D printing for their battle robot, “Benedict”, which won first place in the competition.

“These kids have been working really hard on this for most of the year,” Butts said. “They’re a great group of kids. We had a blast.

The robotics tournament draws students, faculty, staff and professionals from Sandia Labs and other professional backgrounds to volunteer as judges, according to Bin Lim, Ph.D., chair of the mechanical engineering department at New -Mexico. Students participating in the tournament also receive a tour of the mechanical engineering department, he said.

New Mexico Robotic Battle Tournament Winners, April 23, 2022

3lb weight class

  • 1st place – Sponge Bot (NMT design team),
  • 2nd – Flip Off (AIMS Middle School team)

Weight class 1 lb

  • 1st place – A bot named Curtis (NMT club team built and led by a Sarracino Middle School student)

Class 150 grams

  • 1st Place – Instinct (SAE Club Team)

3D printed classroom MESA

  • 1st place – Benedict (Carlsbad HS)
  • 2nd Place – Steak on a Plate (John Adams Middle School)

MESA foam robot class

  • 1st place – Night Watch (Ruidoso Middle School)
  • 2nd Place – Bob Ross (Sarracino College)



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