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Winning strategies

Sometimes when you are up against stiff opposition,the best thing to do is give it your best shot,you can either go down in a blaze of glory or achieve what even you couldn’t dream of.

With over 80 colleges participating in the annual Robowars at IIT Kanpur,students of VIT showed that sometimes winning is everything

Sometimes when you are up against stiff opposition,the best thing to do is give it your best shot,you can either go down in a blaze of glory or achieve what even you couldn’t dream of. It might not be as dramatic as the statement above,but for the three students from VIT who won the best robot design at the finals of Robowars at IIT Kanpur’s annual week long festival Techkriti 09,it was no less either.

The three students who participated in the event are Imran Sheikh of second year computer engineering,Anil Gotpagar from second year mechanical engineering and Bhushan Lodha from second year production engineering.

Explaining the basic concept behind the event Sheikh says,“Robowars which was one of the event at Techkriti this year basically involves robots which are built by colleges battling it out for supremacy in an arena against one another and also against various weapons already present in the arena. The bots (shorter name for robots) were allowed to have toothed projectiles,cutters,flippers and choppers on board. They were however not allowed to have flamethrowers,liquid propellants on the bots.”

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He further adds,“The maximum height of the bot was stated to be 76 cm. We knew that most teams would eventually built bots that were higher as they are difficult to flip over so we decided to reduce the size of our robot and we kept it at a height of 7 cm. Also we ensured that there was no ground clearance between the chassis and the floor. This gave us the advantage that we couldn’t be flipped over as the flippers wouldn’t be able to get underneath the bot. So we achieved the same objectives as other robots without having to increase the height.”

Gotpagar,the other team member says,“We decided to built a purely defensive robot,and so we mounted a pyramidal structure on a circular base. Whilst other robots would engage each other fully owing to larger surface areas of contact we avoided this as the bots could achieve only either a line or a point contact with our bot. Moreover as our height was very low we avoided the spinning hammers fitted in the arena which were mounted at a height of 9 cm. We carried a chassis built of stainless steel which kept the weight considerations to the least.”

Speaking about their experiences while fighting the other bots,Lodha says,“ Some of the bots that we encountered at the event had interesting weaponry attached to them,like air craft motors,cutters,pneumatic flippers,hydraulic choppers and piercers. Infact we had to battle one particular bot which had a cutter mounted on a differential motor and had a cutting speed of 20,000 rpm,which would have been enough to saw us right through! Luckily the height of the cutter itself was a problem for the bot as it got mauled by the rotating hammers mounted in the arena.”


Speaking about the strategy that won them the award,Sheikh says,“Since we weren’t carrying any mounted weapons we relied on a thick 2 mm stainless steel armour and speed to get us past the others. Our main aim was to bring other bots towards the rotating hammers so that they could finish them off instead of we using any heavy weaponry. Luckily it paid off.”

Out of 80 colleges that participated they won the best design award. “The important part is we did it all on our own,if anyone is skeptical about how a robot with no weapons mounted on it can win a Robowar then we hope we have given them enough reasons to wipe away their skepticism for good,” they add proudly.

First published on: 03-03-2009 at 02:30 IST
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