By Ryan Asselin
As part of the new type of first-year engineering class, most engineering students are taking part in a competition new to Union College—Robo-Hockey.
After splitting up into small teams, the engineers begin designing the ideal miniature robot to play both offensive and defensive ice hockey. The six-inch by six-inch by six-inch robots are supposed to be able to score a puck, and also defend a goal.
Teams will compete against each other in a bracket style competition within Union College, with the Union College Championship held January 11 in between periods of the Union vs. Penn State Woman’s Hockey Game.
Outside of Union College, rival RPI is also participating in the competition. They, too, will hold a Robo-Hockey tournament where their winner will faceoff against the Union College champion on January 26 at the Times Union Center in Albany, in between periods of the Union vs. RPI Men’s Hockey Game.
This innocent competition will be the conclusion to weeks worth of trial and error, hard work and exploration of a field new to most of the competitors. Running solely off of a small battery, with all stored energy outlawed by the competition rules, the small robots will need to be designed intelligently so that they can move on ice and score a puck while another human-controlled robot plays defense as well as play defense on a human-controlled offensive robot.
Challenges will be great for the competitors, but success in the competition will mean big things for the competitors’ futures, as the competition will be taking young minds to new boundaries that they probably have not yet explored.
To all students not competing, this competition should definitely be interesting to watch and, of course, come out and support your Union hockey and engineering teams on January 11 and January 26.