Annual RoboGames returns to Alameda Co. Fairgrounds for 4 days of competition

ByAnser Hassan KGO logo
Sunday, April 9, 2023
Annual RoboGames returns to Alameda Co. Fairgrounds
The Annual RoboGames returned to Alameda County Fairgrounds in Pleasanton for 4 days of competition Easter weekend.

PLEASANTON, Calif. (KGO) -- In the first round of competition, Team USA and San Jose native Michael Connerton's robot literally destroyed his competition.

His competitor tapped out and Connerton moves on to round two in the three-pound combat competition.

"It is always intimidating. It is always tough to get the nerve up. Especially at a big event like this," said Connerton, adding that it "feels good to come up with a win."

Welcome to the RoboGames. After a five-year hiatus, in part due to the pandemic, the games are back.

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Over the four days of competition at the Alameda County Fairgrounds, 179 teams from 20 countries competed for gold, silver and bronze in 54 events.

David Calkins, who founded the Games in 2004, describes the various events, ranging from small robots powered by solar power, to the big monster machines in the combat competition -- always a crowd favorite.

"All the way up to 250-pound robots that can absolutely liquify a human being," says Calkins.

A Canadian husband and wife team says the competition isn't just about destroying the competing robot. It's also to prove that their concept can work.

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"There is a lot of strategy that goes into it. Pick a bot, one, that we can build. This is our first time at RoboGames. So we want to be competitive," said Kaleigh Eichel from Canada.

"We have the national competition in Brazil. This is (what) we call the world champion(ship)," said Henrique Oliveira Silva, the captain of the Brazilian squad.

He says the Brazilians are ready to defend several of its world titles in the light- and middle-weight divisions. But they know that over the past five years, the technology has improved. So they are excited to see how the competition stacks up.

"We want to see how it is going. How our robot is going. How the other robots are going. Because it is very different from here to Brazil," Silva said.

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