As we reported last week, engineering students from local universities gathered to compete in the third annual University Robotics Competition (URC). Even Apollo University's two teams weren't enough to unseat last year's winning team from Qualai University.
"The level of competition gets better and better every year," said URC founder Marlon Reiner. "The robots built by these students are comparable to some of the prototypes coming out of smaller electronics companies here on Caprica. I'm blown away by the young talent in this room." Teams of four had just 48 hours to complete their entries (electronics as well as code) and the results were astonishing. The top three winning robots were:
1st Place Qualai University: SMART Hand This prosthetic robot is designed to assist recent amputees in building dexterity in their hands. Sensors in the prosthesis, attached to the wearer's skin, translate value signals into pulses, readable by the brain's primary motor cortex.
2nd Place Apollo University (Team A): ArtBot A robot designed to mimic the style of a variety of famous artists. Just put a canvas or large piece of paper underneath, set an object in front of ArtBot's "eye" (a small camera on the front of the bot), and watch it create!
3rd Place Caprica City University: 360 Degree Catapult Designed to help win at paintball, this bot can swing its catapult in all directions at lightning speeds. The CCU team will challenge any takers to outrun or outsmart their bot next weekend at the school's pyramid field.
It is noteworthy that the top finishers were not battle-bots this year, as they have been in previous years. Perhaps this is a subtle commentary by the students or the judges on their dislike of the military technology race in the Colonies. Or perhaps it's just a coincidence.
The team from Qualai U is thrilled to be the winner for the second year in a row, but they're not resting on their laurels. "We're already thinking of ideas for next year," said QU team captain Wella Spence, "only one of our team members is a senior this year so almost all of us are coming back." Well I, for one, look forward to seeing what Qualai, and all of the talented students, have in store for us next year.