Boris Tsang / Sun Photography Editor

Final round of the Cube Crazy Robots competition at Robotics Day at Duffield Hall on December 10th, 2019.

December 10, 2019

Clash of the Robots: Student-Led Team Bests Industry-Crafted Champion

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Cheers and shouts could be heard pouring out of the Duffield Atrium as students yelled and supported nearly fifty teams jostling to claim the title of Cornell’s most skilled robot.

Cornell Robotics held its annual “Robotics Day” Tuesday, as students across campus came to watch nearly 150 students square off in a variety of robotic competitions and exhibitions.

The marquee event, “Cube Crazy Robots,” was organized as part of the course MAE 3780: Mechatronics and sponsored by ASML, the world’s largest supplier of semiconductor technology and longtime supporter of the annual contest. While Cornell has put on the event for decades, the format recently changed from a sumo robot competition to a cube collecting event that emphasized quick agility over brute force.

ASML provided each team with two parallax motors, batteries and three requirements: robots had to be 8 inches squared, arms with a wingspan of up to 18 inches and an enhancement cap of $40. Competitors had only 60 seconds to move the most blocks to their own side.

After an afternoon of robotic jousting, “Birthday-bot” emerged victorious — a feat that required over a hundred hours of work from team members Chendan Lup ’22, Harnett Mackenzie ’23 and Andreea Foarce ’21.

After the Birthday-bot managed to defeat dozens of other Cornell teams, it competed against the professionally helmed ASML robot too. ASML had an internal competition among four teams in order to pit the best robot from ASML against the best robot from Cornell University. The champion of the ASML internal competition was Team A, which manned a robot named “Sergeant Bosco” in reference to the “A Team” character.

The Cornell victors defeated the ASML robot, and received a trophy certifying their first place status, a corporate t-shirt and Ken Bogursky’s ’96 business card, a manager at ASML, encouraging them to call for either a full-time position or an internship.

“We had a lot of fun with the freedom that they gave us, outside of the game rules, they allowed us to have a lot of creative ideas.” said Chris Scannell, a member of the Team A.

“A part of that is giving back to the community, sponsoring a mechatronic competition to improve the facilities and the labs and make it all possible is just very rewarding to us,” Bogursky said.

“Seeing them let loose is pretty rewarding, especially with finals coming up,” said Prof. Benjamin M. Finio, aerospace engineering, and the instructor for MAE 3780 and in charge of the event. “Seeing the looks on their faces when the robot actually works is amazing to see.”

With the event coming to a close, the winning team rated the entire event in unison. “A solid ten out of ten,” the three replied, without missing a beat.