Robot Combat

MIT’s Annual Robot Competition: Revolution Edition

2016 2.007 Poster 2-01

Every year Course #2.007 at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) ends with a different robotic challenge. This year the theme was the American Revolution.

Last week came the Robot Revolution. Robots threw teabags into a replica of the Boston harbor, hung lanterns in a church tower to send warning, stockpiled cannon balls, and the Paul Revere of robots rode up (and then came down, then up again, then down) a hill.

The undergraduate mechanical engineering students at MIT built these robots from scratch to complete the final challenge of their school year. They competed in a head to head obstacle course with various objectives. Points were earned by how many times their robot successfully completed an objective.

Some robots were partially remote controlled, others fully autonomous. One student used two robots – one to traverse up and down the steep hill while the other (sporting a pirate flag) drove across a wooden bridge to shove against its opponent, BattleBots style. Another used an RC lifting device to shove beanbag teabags off of a model ship.

MIT 2.007 2016 Challenge Course

Photo: Tony Pulsone

The field of students started at 153, but narrowed down to 32 finalists. These finalists participated in the final colonial battle of the season during a yearly celebration of all things mechanical engineering, called MechE Innovation Day.

The organizers went all out with the revolution thing. Being close to Boston, they of course had revolutionary attire hanging in their closest. The event also had an “Engineering Petting Zoo”, and something tells me that wasn’t lambs or llamas.

Sophomore Austin Brown took the win, plus a trophy of the MIT dome, for his autonomous robot. His bot was powered by two motors and came equipped with a special platform to make the hill easier to climb. It was able to scale the hill every one and a half seconds, earning him point after point.

The whole thing was captured by livestream, below. The competition starts at about 20:35.


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