NMT’s Robot Combat Outreach Program

March 10, 2022

Over the past couple of years, Dr. Curtis O’Malley and a group of aspiring engineers have worked together to create a platform for local New Mexico students, from middle school to college, to undertake robotics-focused design projects that culminate in a competition-ready bot.

Robot Combat
Inaugural Robot Combat Competition - The two Design Clinic Teams go head to head to see whose design wins.

The initial competition was held on the NMT campus in April 2021, featuring two teams of student-built bots competing against a bot designed by Dr. O’Malley. During this competition, the robots were all beetle class - meaning they all had to be at or under 3 pounds to compete. 

During the Fall 2021 competition held in November,  16 teams participated. These teams comprised students from both New Mexico Tech and middle schools from around the state. This competition included three different weight classes being offered: beetle-weight (3 lb), feather-weight (150 g), and NM-MESA class (Arduino-based bots). 

In the months leading up to the November 16 competition, Dr. O’Malley and his group of inspiring students provided workshops to teachers at multiple schools around New Mexico interested in learning about robotics and participating in the competition. These workshops provided teachers and classrooms with the basic materials and instructions for a featherweight-sized robot. NMT then provided teachers with materials to assist them in helping their students modify and improve their basic 150 g robots. About 12 teams within this weight class came from middle and high school classes. For more information on NMT outreach, you can visit the NMT 2021 Assay Report, which goes into more detail on the different outreach opportunities that Tech has taken on. 

Robot Combat Arena
The NMT Robot Combat Arena being set up for the November 6, 2021 tournament.

The NMT Robot Combat Arena being set up for the November 6, 2021 tournament.

The next competition will be held on April 23, 2022, with as many as 50 teams participating coming from a range of 14 different schools. The competition will feature a new arena this April, and a whole new class of robots will be allowed to compete. In addition to the two weight classes offered in the November competition, the April competition will now have an ant-weight class that restricts the weight to at or under one pound. 

If you are interested in learning more about the Mechanical Engineering Department’s Robot Combat Outreach Program, feel free to visit the Robot Combat Outreach homepage. We would love to see you at the April competition to cheer on the NMT Design Clinic Robot Combat teams!