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Robotics competition wraps up at Vanier College

MONTREAL – What has become a Montreal robotics tradition wrapped up Saturday at Vanier College. The Annual CRC Robotics Competition brings together more than 30 schools between the high school and CEGEP levels to compete in a series of heats designed to test various skills.

While robots are the centrepiece of the contest, they aren’t the only element. The rules stipulate that participants must create a website, promotional materials, and a booth, as well.

“It’s multidisciplinary, so they have an art project, they have to write well, they have to design a website and they have to build a robot that works,” said Heather McPherson, a science teacher at Laval Liberty High School.

This year’s contest takes place on an obstacle course with three levels. The way it’s set up, the heats in the contest compete with other heats, more than teams competing with one another in their own heat. Robots, which are guided by remote control, try to build structure cooperatively to earn points. Individually, teams can earn points by placing a signature item on top of their own structure.

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Teams get more points by going farther and higher into the course.

“On the third floor you get three types of points, on the second floor you get two kinds of points and so on,” said Andrew Boeck, a second-year student at College Notre-Dame.

He showed off the “Hobot” his team built; so-called due to its dishevelled appearance. Students are completely free to design their machine from the ground up and employ materials they choose. Just about every robot’s construction has a trial-and-error component.

“The main problem for us was the power of the motors,” said Michael Fontanals, a student at Dawson College.

Fortunately for Fontanals, his team’s robot, called “Ruby 2,” advanced and he could strengthen its power for the next heat.

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