The heavy dose of dueling robots during the recently concluded technological festivals at IIT-B and VJTI coupled with the influence of the Hollywood science fiction movie Real Steel, which depicted bo
The heavy dose of dueling robots during the recently concluded technological festivals at IIT-B and VJTI coupled with the influence of the Hollywood science fiction movie Real Steel, which depicted boxing robots, has caught the fancy of many youngsters from the engineering and non-engineering background who want to construct fighting robots and participate in the Robowars segment of technological fests. According to some veterans of the sport, though the costs involved can be high, the growing interest in fighting robots has caught the attention of not just college students but even schoolgoers.
Speaking about the turnout for the Robowars segment of Techfest, (held at IIT-B), chief media coordinator Anuraj Gupta said the number of entries in this edition had gone up by more than 20 per cent over last year. “Last year there were 38 teams and this year there were 50. The robots are becoming more and more competitive and though a loss could lead to the robot being completely destroyed, it has not deterred participation,” said Mr Gupta.
The chief media coordinator of Technovanza (held at VJTI), Nikit Gadlinge was of a similar view and said the sport was not restricted to Mumbai as teams from other parts of the state had also come to participate during the three-day festival. “There were teams from Pune, Nagpur, Kolhapur and Palghar too. Though a robot can cost anywhere between Rs 35,000- Rs 1 lakh, these teams have put together robots from scratch and have also used scrap wherever possible,” said Mr Gadlinge.
Robowars involves expertise like mechanics, electronics and fabrication and hence most teams consist of a minimum of five members and can have as many as 50 members too. Siddharth Nayak, the owner of team Autobotz, which won the finals at Technovanza, said that he graduated last year and was currently working in a firm at Navi Mumbai but when he was contacted by some students from his alma mater, he agreed to help them.
“The students from my former institute had seen me compete in previous editions of Robowars, hence they contacted me. While they took care of mechanics and fabrication I provided the circuit. The robot was a defensive one and as there were weight restrictions of upto 60 kilogrammes we could not add too many features in it. After the win, our team has been approached by many students from other engineering colleges requesting help in constructing their own robot,” said Mr Nayak.
The enthusiasm is not restricted to engineering students only as school students were also seen participating in the tourney. Ankit Ambade, a Class 9 student and his team from St Gregorios school at Chembur also fielded their robot in Robowars at Techfest. The robot zeal is not restricted to men but some teams also had female members. “Though Robowars is considered a male sport, many girls also have a keen interest in it and were part of some teams that participated,” said Mr Gupta.