Robotics competition engages St. Paul students’ ingenuity

Students from St. Paul School, Burlington, joined with their peers in nearby Doane Academy March 1 to participate in a Sumo wrestling competition. However, the opponents fighting in the ring were not human, they were robots.

Over the past few months, teams of two to four students in grades five through eight spent many long hours designing, constructing and programming their robots using specialized Lego bricks, complete with motors, wires, sensors and a programmable controller.

The objective of the competition was to push the opponent’s robot out of the ring, or destroy and disable it, while ensuring their own robot remained inside. To assure their robots were durable, the students used numerous tools and diverse strategies. Some teams had spinning claws on the front of the robot to “drill” into their opponents, while other teams opted to try to flip the other robot out of the ring.

Color and ultrasonic sensors added a layer of complexity; some teams tried to sense their competitor’s location using the ultrasonic sensor, while other teams used the color sensor to detect the black line at the edge of the ring to stay in play.

Coached by William Robbins Jr., principal of St. Paul School, St. Paul fielded three teams in the competition. Connor Holler and Dominic Kolaski formed Team Buzz Saw; Team Unicorns was made up of Isabella Clemente and Alexandra Oshidar; and Team JKRR consisted of Richie De Fulvio, Kevin Stewart, Joe Bartram and Ryan Daniels.

With pieces flying everywhere, and last-second adjustments being made, the matches were fierce. Though the robots from St. Paul School performed valiantly, it was ultimately a team from Doane Academy that took the championship. St. Paul’s Team JKRR came in third place.

12443aBattling ‘Bots’ • St. Paul School, Burlington, competed in a robotic sumo wrestling competition with Doane Academy March 1 to illustrate electronics skills.  Photo courtesy of St. Paul School

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