Rock ’em sock ’em robots duke it out on campus

Before the two candidates verbally sparred, engineering students created a set of blue and red rock ’em sock ’em robots that duked it out on campus before the debate.

Senior Sam Wight declares victory for the red robot during one of many rock ’em sock ’em battles Oct. 2.

EnCouncil president Lee Cordova, a senior biomedical engineering major, and seniors Sam Wight and Matt Watkins, mechanical engineering majors, built the red and blue robots.

They used durable aluminum tubing for arms, sheet metal for bodies and a backpack-like strap that allowed the robots to move and pivot with various students manning the controls. Though no ultimate winner was determined, students enjoyed seeing the robots in action.

“The colors are coincidental,” Cordova said. “We gave them different colors to tell them apart. But it became obvious there was political significance.”

Cordova, Wight and Watkins have been working on the idea since Thurtene Carnival in the spring of 2007.

“EnCouncil always comes up with games to raise money for charity, and we hatched this idea,” Cordova said. “In part, it grew out of my interest in high school of making puppets.”

Many prototypes later, the group has found success.

“This is our senior year, and among the three of us we wanted a design that won’t have to be reinvented, as we’ve done,” Cordova said. “These robots will be good to go for Thurtene 2010 and beyond. That’s our hope.”