CNM Student Team Competing in Robot Competition in England This Weekend

March 28, 2017 -- A team of four CNM students will be participating in an international robotic competition, "Pi Wars," in Cambridge, England, this weekend. The CNM team will be the only representative from the U.S.
March 28, 2017

Pi Wars is a challenge-based robotics competition in which robots controlled by small “Raspberry Pi” computers are created by teams and then they compete in various challenges to earn points. Prizes are awarded at the end of the event. 

The CNM students built their competitive robot, which fits on an 8- by 10-inch sheet of paper, out of the salvaged housing of a computer DVD drive. It is controlled by a Raspberry Pi, a tiny credit card-sized computer that can be programmed to do a variety of functions.

Team members include Eric Rector, Alex Summerlin, James Corriz and Larry Rodriguez, who are all majoring in Computer Information Systems (CIS).

“The students have been building robots and learning about them since last October,” said Kerry Bruce, CNM faculty advisor. “They have been working on the Pi Wars competitive robot since the start of the Spring Term.”

Pi Wars RobotAll the work was done outside of the classroom on a voluntary basis in the college’s Hacker Space, a workspace where students interested in computer programming and engineering can meet, socialize and collaborate. Team members have been spending 15-20 hours per week in the Hacker Space to build the robot.

This is the first year a CNM team is participating in Pi Wars. During the last Pi Wars, 30 teams competed. More than 65 teams are coming to this weekend’s Pi Wars from Germany, Switzerland, Wales, Scotland, England and Albuquerque, New Mexico. The head Pi Wars judge is Dr. Lucy Rogers., who also judges Robot Wars, a popular BBC television show.

Among competitions in which the CNM team will be participating are Straight Line Speed Test, Minimal Maze, Pi Noon, Obstacle Course and Line Following.

The students raised enough money to cover about three-fourths of the overall cost for the competition, including travel and accommodations. The CNM Executive Council of Students funded about half the cost. On average the students each paid about $650 for the Cambridge trip.

Because the competition is being held on April 1, or April Fools Day, competitors are invited to make the robots as funny as possible.

Bruce said that his team's robot might not be the funniest looking – “but we had a lot of fun building it.”