Langley Events Centre became a playground on Sunday, March 6 and this time, the players weren’t just humans but robots, too. Hundreds of spectators gathered at the local facility to watch robots smash each other and collect rings to earn points.
The competition hosted by West Vancouver School District saw participation from 32 high school and 16 middle school teams across B.C. mainland.
Each team was comprised of anywhere between two and eight members. While they participated in the provincial championship, they were also competing for spots in the world championship – to be held in Dallas, United States.
Todd Ablett, the chief instructor at West Vancouver School District’s Ten Tons Robotics, praised school districts for including robotics and engineering in their curriculum.
“Yes they are doing the robotics and cool stuff but most importantly they [students] are acquiring many soft skills. These events teach them team work and resilience.”
It is like science meeting sports, he commented.
“It turns out to be more about other things that just necessarily robotics,” he added.
Students were seen huddling together, cheering each other after loss or celebrating their win. Each team had one to two members responsible for controlling the machine, while others played a crucial role in guiding the operator and accessing the battleground situation.
About five mini playing fields were set up where four crane-like robots – two from each team – fought to collect rings and stop the opponent’s machine from taking plastic rings to their base. Talking about the events centre, Ablett said that Langley residents are lucky to have a facility like the Langley Events Centre.
“This is the rock and roll place for this event,” he added.
Janet Battle, general manager at the events centre, was thrilled to host a robotics competition for the first time at the facility.
“We are really excited to provide an experience for all of the kids who are into robotics,” she added.
Jamie, a high school student, said that he was excited to hit the battleground with his machine, numbered 1011K.
The competition winners were announced at the end of the event after 4 p.m. The two teams from the middle school championship, which bagged the first position, will jointly compete at the world championship. At the high school level, both the teams winning the first and second positions were from the West Vancouver School District, and they too have earned a spot at the international championship.
— WV Schools Premier Academies (@WVSAcademy) March 7, 2022
Ablett urged Langley School District to create more opportunities for local students to explore robotics.
“It is 2022, every high school and middle school should have one of these robots,” he added.
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