Robots Take Over

The Española YMCA Teen Center team designed a trash pick-up robot which was demonstrated Saturday. Valley Daily Post photo

Robots Take Over

Española – Students and robot enthusiast from throughout Northern New Mexico converged on Eagle Gymnasium at Northern New Mexico College in Española on Saturday for the annual RoboRAVE, and Science Fest event. Schools from as far away as Bernalillo, Los Alamos, Santa Fe and throughout the Española Valley sent several teams, as well as the Española YMCA teen center. In all, over 60 students from the Valley and further away “got their geek on” in a variety of robot events and competitions.

Students take turns trying out YMCA Teen Center built robots. Valley Daily Post photo

The RoboRAVE & Science Fest event, sponsored by Los Alamos National Laboratory(LANL) is an open platform robotics competition, part of the RoboRAVE International which teaches science and engineering concepts to students through the use of robots. Competitions, such as the Española event are held around the world, culminating in national and international events each year. RoboRAVE allows youth and students to use any type of team-designed robot to complete specific tasks. The only limitation is that they cannot spend over $1,500 per team. Teams used robot kits to build specialized robots. Kits used Saturday ranged in price from $80 to $900.

Last minute programming before the competition. Valley Daily Post photo

Saturday’s event was a practice session in preparations for the RoboRAVE Tournament to be held in Albuquerque later this year. Teams that took to the floor in Eagle Gymnasium showed their stuff with flying drones, battling sumo-wrestling robots, robots designed to pick up trash and many more designs. A new robot kit loan program offered by LANL’s Community Partnerships Office aims to make kits available to any student in the region interested in learning robotics. For more information on this robot loan program contact Janelle Vigil-Maestas at LANL HERE.

Schools that participated included:

        Pojoaque Valley
        Alcalde Elementary
        Sweeney Elementary
        James Rodriguez Elementary
        Khapo
Community School (Santa Clara)
        Dulce Jr. and Sr. High
        Turquoise Trail (Santa Fe)
        Peñasco
        Taos
        Questa
        Holy Cross
        Gallina Elementary
        Rio Rancho
        Santa Fe Indian School
        Espanola YMCA Teen Center

The Pojoaque team did particularly well in Jousting. 

One small but particularly clever robot named NAVCaR also attended but did not compete against others. NAVCaR, which stands for “Native American Voice Controlled Automated Robot” was built with a microphone so it could listen to spoken commands. Learn more about how this clever robot is changing classrooms HERE.