Our third set of official Coder Dojo classes (5 Sundays in a row) was held back in Nov-Dec and covered beginner robotics. To make it fun we wanted to make fighting robots. To keep the costs down we chose mini sumo style competition where the robots push each other out of the ring instead of using saws and spikes to chop up and mangle the other robot. The mini sumo style competition also exercises everyone’s programming skills because there are no remote controls! The code must be written and uploaded before the match that reads from the robots sensors to detect the edge of the ring and turn around as well as the sensor on the front to detect the other robot and push forward full speed. We also showed everyone how to create random turns and sidestep moves like a real sumo wrestler would do if they weren’t getting anywhere by just both robots pushing forward. The first few classes went over how each sensor worked while everyone assembled their own robot from a kit that the makerspace provided. We even provided stickers and markers and other decorations for everyone to personalize their robots. Everyone decided to take their robots home for the cost of $15 each. We were able to get the costs down by laser cutting and 3D printing everything we could for the robot parts and a little money infusion from some of our own members. The 4th Sunday we spent going over the code for the robot and how it works as well as how to make changes for their own behaviors with ideas on winning strategies. Then we did a lot of test matches and code changes so that we could hold a full tournament on the last Sunday class. Everyone agreed it was a very fun way to learn robotics and that we should do it again soon.
Here’s the full album with a video: