Imagine a scene where a bulky and rugged robot designed for search and rescue operation and a lanky frail looking rival that bounces away using a hydraulic appendages, will be meeting in a contest together with over a dozen of other robots in the initial Vecna Robot Sprint Challenge outside Boston.
The robots are designed by teams of students at the Worcester Polytechnic Institute. The contest will involve contestants including those from commercially built machines that weighs hundreds of pounds to remote controlled cars assembled by student enthusiasts.
The course uses a 100 meter race track. The participating robots will receive a cup brimming with confetti at the turn around point. The contest has no intention of inviting contestants comparable to those in the U.S. Defense Department-funded Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency Robotics Challenge, where the world’s best gather together to show off their robots that costs millions of dollars.
The contest sponsored by Vecna Technologies serves as an outlet to the growing number of enthusiasts who are fond of low-key robot races which is becoming very popular all over the United States. Experts believe this could be a very effective way of attracting youngsters into the field of science, technology, engineering and mathematics. “It’s a fantastic trend; I’m all for it,” said Massachusetts Institute of Technology associate Professor Russ Tedrake, who who was instrumental of the school’s fourth-place DARPA team in 2014.
“Races like Vecna’s, which he is not involved in organizing, they seem to be drawing people in to the field,” he added.
Competitions like this help a lot create new ideas which later develop into practical uses, according to experts. The self-driving cars that Google has been experimenting right now was taken from the ideas at the former DARPA contest.
This one way of inventing things. It’s cheaper and more people are involved, especially the young minds of today.