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JCU robot wars: The Big Bang Theory has competition

Gadget gurus will be given a chance to put their high-tech skills to the test during JCU’s inaugural robot wars.

JCU robot wars: The Big Bang Theory has competition

Gadget gurus will be given a chance to put their high-tech skills to the test during James Cook University’s inaugural robot wars.

The Douglas campus will soon become a battleground for the event run by JCU’s Robotics and Electronics Club and the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) Northern Australia Section Student Branch.

The group was developed by a number of JCU’s Electrical and Computer Engineering undergraduate students under the mentorship of Associate Professor Mohan Jacob.

The club will hold a series of free workshops during the next 13 weeks in the lead up to the duelling ‘death match’ due to be held during the final week of Study Period One.

The robots are set to battle it out within a custom built arena, with bragging rights going to the last robot remaining on the racetrack.

Club chair Chris Roberts, a Bachelor of Engineering (Electrical and Electronic) undergraduate student, said the event was designed to bring together like-minded enthusiasts from across the region.

“Down south and overseas, these types of clubs are very common but there is nothing in Townsville for people interested in robotics,” he said.

“We want to hold the workshops to open the door to people who might have always had an interest in electronics and robotics but never had the chance to take things further.

“I know for a lot of people something like this can be quite daunting, but it needn’t be that way.

“With someone to point you in the right direction, it stops being scary and starts being fun really quickly.”

The first workshop will be held on Thursday (March 6) at 12pm and will continue every Thursday for the remainder of the semester.

Mr Roberts said the workshops were open to students from all academic backgrounds.

“We are teaching people how to put kits together, how to program a board as well understanding the software behind it,” he said.

“For someone who has used a soldering iron before or has tried their hand at basic programming, it won’t take them very long at all to find their feet.

“They can start with something quite simple and then build into something more complex.”

The club has received funding from the IEEE Northern Australia Section for the event and has raised the stakes with Open Class sponsorship coming from local electronics retailer Solex.

Mr Roberts said the event would be subsidised for club members to help with the costs associated with building a competitive robot.

“We understand funds are tight for a lot of students and they might not have a lot of money to put towards something like this so we want to do all we can to help,” he said.

“At the end of the day we would like as many people as possible competing so we can put on a great show.”

Mr Roberts also acknowledged the active support of the executive committee Vice Chair Karl Mohring, Vice Chair Ashley Gillman, IEEE Student Branch Councillor Ross Marchant and IEEE Northern Australia Chair Mohan Jacob.

The workshops will be held in building 14, room 210 of the School of Engineering and Physical Sciences at JCU’s Douglas campus.

For more information about registration contact the club at jcurobotics@gmail.com or visit facebook.com/groups/jcurobotics

For interviews or photos, contact: Assoc Prof Mohan Jacob email: mohan.jacob@jcu.edu.au tel (07) 4781 4379.

For more information on Association Professor Jacob, visit http://research.jcu.edu.au/portfolio/mohan.jacob/

JCU Media contact: Caroline Kaurila on tel: (07) 4781 4586 or 0437 028 175

First published March 4, 2014