Competition is not just for athletes.
Bengal Reauxbotics is a new organization targeting science students on campus. Within the organization, students build robots to compete “sumo-style” across the country.
Sumo-style fighting means that the robots only push without destroying each other. Some of these robots can push with up to 65 pounds of force.
Electrical engineering senior Marlou de Guzman is the organization’s president. All the members, including de Guzman, are robotics engineering minors.
De Guzman said the organization got its start during the spring semester in another College of Engineering organization, the Society of Peer Mentors. The organization got help and support from mechanical engineering professor Marcio de Queiroz from a Society of Peer Mentors meeting.
“Overall, the club provides a valuable, professional-like experience that includes engineering design, teamwork in an interdisciplinary setting, leadership, budgetary issues and strict deadlines,” Queiroz said.
De Guzman said the organization is funded by its own fundraisers and sponsors. He said the members actively looking for more sponsors to contribute financially.
The club uses scrap metal from Patrick F. Taylor Hall and de Guzman’s father’s shop to save money when building.
De Guzman said engineering students aren’t the only ones limited to joining the club. He looks forward to meeting with new potential members with backgrounds in mathematics, design and digital art.
Anyone who has an interest in robotics can give the club a shot, de Guzman said. The club does not require a background in robotics, and having a range of majors involved in the design plans can provide a new insight on problems and reach solutions more quickly, he said.
So far, Bengal Reauxbotics has competed in several competitions at conventions as far as Tennessee.
“We all learn something new through competitions,” de Guzman said.
Working together teaches the members teamwork and how to think differently, he said.
Recently Bengal Reauxbotics competed and won the first round at Dragon Con 2016 in Atlanta, Georgia, over Labor Day weekend.
“As of right now, we have three projects,” de Guzman said. “One is a continuation and two are new.”
De Guzman said one of the club’s future projects is creating a camera robot for a photographer in New Orleans. He said that project will begin in spring, along with the creation of another robot.
“Moving forward, my hope is for Bengal Reauxbotics to expand its membership and activities,” Queiroz said. “I would also like to see the club participate in other types of robot competitions beyond combat robotics.”