Day 2

Morning came up shortly after a long first night in West Virginia.  Saturday was the start of the competitions at ShepRobo Fest.  And it started quick.  Upon walking in the venue, the organizer of the event and head of the Robotics club at Shepherd, Dr. Kim, asked us to put on a demo of Mech Warfare for the spectators.  Andrew and I had the only mobile mechs at the time, so we put them in the arena and started shooting around.  People loved seeing Giger and Draco running around.  I even put my turret in the arena for show.  It was really cool to see everyone run over and cheering for the robots which I had built.  You could easily see all the attention that Mech Warfare got.

There were some other really cool things at the competition. FIRST Lego league was something that I really enjoyed seeing.  Teams at the elementary level put together robots using Lego NXT kits and had to follow some rules that I didn’t understand at the time to be able to complete a myriad of obstacles and tasks with a pre-programmed robot.  I would have definitely wanted to participate in a class like that back in elementary school if we had it.  That looks like a great way for young kids to get into the field of robotics.

There was also the fire fighting competition at the event.  This was also neat, because it was fully autonomous.  This group ranged from high school up to university level which built robots that had to sense walls, travel into a bunch of maze like rooms, find a single candle and be able to put it out.  Some teams used fans, some used wet sponges and smacked the candle, but it was still really neat to see this.

Through the day there were a couple more demos of Mech Warfare which always brought in the crowd right to the arena.  Again, so cool to see the attention of everybody drawn to these robots which shoot each other in a scaled down city-scape.

The night also ended again around 3 or 4, with all teams trying to put together their mechs for the competition on Sunday.  And once again, energy drinks, coffee, soda, pizza, and snacks were the main course.  Everyone set out to help everyone else, it was really a big community effort to try and have everyone working for tomorrow.  Teams were in various states of completion, some walking, some connecting guns, some putting on finishing touches, some not so much.


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