Robots smash it up at Casa Loma

George Brown students build sumo-wrestling robots for National Engineering Month

On March 14, Casa Loma hosted robot competitions as part of National Engineering Month (NEM). The event featured a robot sumo battle, as well as a competition for best simulated robot design and a design challenge game. Some teams had been working on their designs for months.

When Khadra Mohamed, a second-year mechanical engineering technologies design student, was approached in September by the NEM board to host an event again this year, she immediately agreed and began to assemble a team of organizers. The NEM’s slogan, “there’s a place for you here,” appealed to her and she wanted to bring that sentiment to George Brown.

“Engineering is not as hard as people make it sound,” Mohamed said. “It’s just a lot more, a lot of creativity and a lot of determination to get a solution to a problem.”

When it came time to put the robots in the ring to battle, with a last minute drop out due to mechanical failure, only two bots were prepped to battle it out. Ed-E 2.0 from team #Doesn’tMatter and Nemesis were ready to rumble.

After some opening remarks from guest speaker Mick Matsumoto, who graduated from the mechanical engineering and design program in 2012, the mic was turned over to Gemeda Beker, a third-year engineering student. The robots were introduced, the gong was rung and the two went to work trying to push each other outside the sumo ring, while not crossing the boundary themselves.

It started off as a normal robot battle with the two making keen advances toward each other but soon Nemesis began orbiting in circles, allowing Ed-E 2.0 to catch and push him out once, then twice. After a timeout to repair the issue, they reentered the ring but Nemesis was no match for Ed-E 2.0 who won the sumo competition 3-0 with one final push. Beker, a previous participant and winner at an NEM event himself, remarked during his closing comments that it is a treat “to participate, to just create something and have it work.”

The design competition that followed was judged by Matsumoto. A third robot, Momo, joined the other two in the competition as the robots were judged on their design. Once again Ed-E 2.0 was the clear winner for its efficient wiring system and sleek outer shell.

Ed-E 2.0’s creators, Chloe Townsend, Chuck Berneles, Grant-Vanasse, and David Medeiros, were very pleased to have won. But Townsend, also one of the event organizers, said they plan to begin advertising the event much earlier next year to get even more people excited and involved.

NEM events are happening on college campuses and locations all across Ontario this month in a bid to bring awareness and interest to the engineering field.

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Robots smash it up at Casa Loma