MHS Robotics Club to participate in ‘BattleBots’

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MARIANAS High School’s Robotics Club has received an invitation to compete in this year’s “BattleBots,” an American robot combat TV series aired on Discovery Channel.

MHS vice principal Melanie Sablan said the invitation came from BattleBots Inc. founder and president Greg Munson.

The competition, she added, will take place in Long Beach, California from March 30 to April 15, 2020.

“The MHS Robotics Club will represent the CNMI in the BattleBots world championship. This will expose the talents of CNMI students from MHS,” Sablan said, adding, “This is the first time someone in the Pacific region will be featured in BattleBots.”

Robotics Club team captain Gengyan Larry Liu said they submitted their application and the video of their team designing and assembling their lethal bot to BattleBots last year.

“I thought we did not make it, but we did receive an invitation,” Liu said.

Participating in BattleBots is like a dream come true, he added. “I have watched the BattleBots since I was little. I told myself I would be in that competition someday.”

Liu is also a member of the MHS Aeronautics who won the CNMI Real World Design Challenge. He and his team created and designed a drone called “Taga,” an unmanned aerial vehicle capable of delivering packages to specific locations. The MHS team will compete in the international championship in Washington, D.C. in April.

MHS Robotics Club members Gengyan Larry Liu, Joseph Zhang, Gerrick Santos, Tian En Microl Chen, Hero Javier, Seung Ju Lee, and Xue Zhen Qiu with their mentor Manny Borja.  Contributed photo

While creating the Taga drone, Liu said he realized that he could also build a robot for BattleBots.

“So I formed a team and Mr. Manny Borja agreed to mentor us. He was very supportive,” Liu said.

The other members of the MHS Robotics Club are Joseph Zhang, Gerrick Santos, Tian En Microl Chen, Hero Javier, Seung Ju Lee, and Xue Zhen Qiu.

Under Borja’s guidance, Liu said they studied various engineering components and electronics. They also have to program their robot, he added.

He said their combat robot will have two spinners that can rotate in different directions. “When the other bot gets into our angle, it will get beaten up,” Liu added.

They named their robot “Spirit of Taga.”

Liu said the robot is not yet done, adding that they are still waiting for the arrival of the parts and materials they ordered abroad.

To compete in BattleBots, he said they have asked the Public School System to help cover their travel and other expenses.

Besides robotics teams from the U.S., competitors from the United Kingdom, China, South Korea, Australia, New Zealand, Canada and Brazil will also contend in BattleBots this spring.

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