Battle Bots to invade Cruz Plaza in November

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Image: Courtesy of Mercer Creative Computer Camps Facebook page

Mercer’s Battle Bot Bear’s Competition will take on Mercer’s Battle Bot Bears Competition Preliminary round Oct. 24

Meghan Duffey, Staff Writer

Robots will battle and fight for glory in Mercer University’s Department of Computer Science’s first public competition.

Mercer’s Battle Bot Bear’s Competition will take place on Nov. 7. The battle is a double elimination event that will happen on Cruz Plaza.

“We wanted something fun, yet computer-related, to add to our department tailgates during football games,” Robert Allen, professor of computer science at Mercer, said.

The department has previously done battle Bots competitions during summer camps, and Allen said “camp kids go wild watching these contests.”

The application was open to everyone who was interested. Eight teams competed on Oct. 17. These eight teams include four teams of Mercer students: Transformers, Fighting Mongooses, Team F.L.A.B., and Team Tachyon.

Additionally, four younger teams were chosen: Decepticorns from Montessori of Macon, Vexinoles from Westside Pre-Engineering Magnet High School, Real IMPACT Girlz from Real IMPACT Center, Inc., and Magnetic Masterminds from Vineville Academy and Alexander II.

The computer science department is lending a Lego NXT Mindstorm robot to each of the eight selected teams. Each team must build their robot exclusively from the NXT kit and are only allowed to add lightweight decorations to their robots.

The goal of the competition is for the teams to program their robots to stay inside the battle arena the longest while also trying to push out their opponent.

The arena is a 42-inch round table top that will sit one inch above the ground and have white tape on the edge for light sensors to detect.

There was a preliminary brawl on Oct. 24 during the homecoming tailgate. Teams were paired up and able to work on their robots and codes during the practice rounds. The judges also used these practice rounds to determine the seeding for the main battle.

For the final battles, two bots will be placed into the arena and will fight without remote control from the teams. The goal is to either push the opposing bot out of the arena or to disable the other bot by flipping it. The bot that stays in the ring the longest wins.

There will be a trophy for the first and second place winners.

“One fun fact about Battle Bots is that there is a bit of luck involved, “ Allen said. “So, I would not be surprised if an elementary school team beats a Mercer Robotic’s Club team!”