Whether it was about strategy, attack, aggression or defence, the two competitors seemed determined to outsmart each other. Controlled by groups of students, they took orders and executed them amid applause and loud cheer.
The contest was between two teams participating in ‘Robowars', one of the events organised at ‘Kurukshetra', the annual techno-management fest of the College of Engineering Guindy (CEG), at Anna University, which drew eager spectators to the battlefield.
“This is a new event and we had over 20 teams registering. Each team has to build a robot that basically attacks another,” explained Kumar Madhav, one of the student-organisers. “It is all about how aggressive your robot is, while attacking the enemy,” added Anumala, another student.
After a nearly six minute-duel the robot made by students of Yugantar Institute of Technology & Management, Chattisgarh, emerged winner of that round.
However, it would have to prove its mettle in the subsequent rounds, too. “I think our rotating shaft gave our robot an advantage,” said Pralay Sahu, a member of the team.
Not far away was the team from V.I .Institute of Technology, Chengalpattu, discussing what went wrong. “We should have concentrated more on the speed aspect. We didn't want to use pneumatics…we lost out because of that,” said Mani Verman, a member of the team.
Apart from providing exposure and nurturing a healthy, competitive spirit, ‘Kurukshetra' seeks to facilitate this kind of learning – from peers, and from one's own mistakes. A fascinating opportunity to put to use students' engineering minds, the event saw hundreds of students at different events on day one.
In addition to crowd pullers like ‘Robowars', the day featured an aeromodelling competition and several workshops. The topics for the workshops spanned an interesting range, to include energy auditing and even caricaturing. “The idea is to let students know how to minimise energy consumption in an effective manner,” explained M.E. Manirathnam, an event coordinator from CEG.
In another corner of the campus were a few vehicles with their bonnets open. A few parts were scattered around.
Soon after, students meddled with the parts, trying to fix them.
“That's auto anatomy. Our own students go and learn how to dismantle a car in a manufacturing unit and then teach the participants. The event is about dismantling and rearranging the parts. It's very exciting,” said Saravanan, a CEG student.
For many volunteers and student-coordinators like him, the event was as much about learning management skills, as it was about mastering engineering concepts and applications.
The Hindu is the media partner for the event.