Students watch the first round of the Sumo Robo tournament, Feb. 16, at the Educational Services building in Rutland. (Carli Berry/Capital News)

Sumo bots battle

The second Sumo Bots tournament was held Feb. 16.

In the corner sits Majestic Savage, a robot built for battle by the talented student, Jessie Bass.

Majestic Savage was just one of the robots which fought in the second annual Sumo Robo tournament, held Feb. 16.

Shiloh Marriett, 13, showed off her sumo bot, equipped with a special pink shovel.

“The whole point of sumo bots, is two bots go against each other and try to push each other out of the circle,” she said, adding the bots use sensors to detect each other.

The robots are placed in a sumo-style arena and once they’re turned on, the robots push each other, or not, depending on their build and coding.

She said the shovel will go under tires and mess up the tread of the other robots. The shovel is also pink so it will trick the other robots sensor.

Marriett hopes to win first place.

Tournament organizer Murray Chalmers said the kids build and program their own robots.

“They have just a great time,” he said.

The robots are built using Lego Mindstorm kits, with size and weight requirements for the tournaments.

Around 106 students at the elementary, middle and high school level gathered in 50 teams.

Each sumo bot will have about six battles in the tournament in elimination-style rounds. The winning Kelowna team earns a trophy.

“It really matches up well with the new B.C. curriculum,” said Chalmers.

The students learn coding which is part of the curriculum and problem-solving techniques in the real world, he said.

“(It’s) learning problem solving and reacting to what needs to be done at the time… this is what it’s all about. They think they have it all figured out and when they get there, things go wrong so they have to fix it, and this is real-time fixing and real-time problem solving. That’s really valuable for kids these days.”

“I want them to learn stuff without thinking they’re really in the classroom,” said Chalmers.

The tournament was held at the Educational Services building in Rutland.

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Alex Rozek, 12, tunes up his bot for the second Sumo Bot tournament, Feb. 16, at the Educational Services Building in Rutland. (Carli Berry/Capital News)

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