Purdue' robotics team, SIGBots, wins world championship in skills category

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Members of the VEX robotics world competition, including Purdue's SIGBots team, at the end of the May 2022 competition.
Members of the VEX robotics world competition, including Purdue's SIGBots team, at the end of the May 2022 competition.

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. — Purdue's robotics team, SIGBots, placed first in the Skills competition at the 2022 VEX Robotics World Championship earlier this month.

The championship, which took place is Dallas, Texas, consisted of the highest-ranked robotics teams in the world coming together to compete. This year's game was "Tipping Point," which focused on placing the most amount of rings on mobile goals.

At the university level, the tournament was separated into two separate divisions, according to Dominic Holifield, a SIGBots team member and now-Junior in mechanical engineering at Purdue.

"From those divisions," Holifield said, "the winners played each other in finals. And on top of the head-on-head competition that takes place in those divisions, there's also a skills category which is individual teams scoring as much points as they can.

"From that, whoever has the highest score at the end of the day, wins."

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SIGBots' overall placements were as follows:

  • BLRS2 ("Boilers 2") placed first in the Skills competition and tied for third in the head-to-head competition

  • Finished as finalists in their division

  • BLRS came in seventh in Skills and finished second in the head-to-head competition

REC staff at VEX Worlds 2022 at the Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center in Dallas, Texas.
REC staff at VEX Worlds 2022 at the Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center in Dallas, Texas.

SIGBots BLRS and BLRS2 teams had five robots between them for the competition; two on each team were used for the game's entirety, while the additional bot was used only for the Skills challenge.

"For the competition matches," Holifield said, "there's 45 seconds of autonomous - where the robots are doing everything on their own. And then after that, there's a minute and 15 seconds of driver, where the drivers take control. And that happens all at once for each match.

"And then for the skills portion, there's a full minute of autonomous, where the one team tried to score as many points as they can. And then there's also, separate from that, a one minute driver controlled (portion) where they try to score as many points."

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This year's world championship was the first to be held in-person since 2019. Holifield stated that the best part of participating live was being able to see how other teams approached the game, as well as seeing different robotic designs and strategies they came up with."

"It was super fun," Holifield said, "because it had been two years since I was there. The last one, they had it in Louisville. So it was a super fun environment. Getting to see all the teams and just being in-person to compete...Competing in-person is probably my favorite part, 'cause I'm one of the drivers, it might be a little biased. It's just super fun to actually show off your hard work and win."

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The 2022-2023 competition game has been announced and SIGBots' work is already underway, Holifield said. The new game is called VRC Spin Up and has bots scoring foam disks in elevated goals. Further details about the game can be found in its recent announcement video.

A few of the robots used in the 2021-2022 VEX robotics world championship by Purdue SIGBots.
A few of the robots used in the 2021-2022 VEX robotics world championship by Purdue SIGBots.

"When the competition ended at World's," Holifield said. "they released the next year's game. So we've already started making CAD designs for it and prototyping designs. So we're getting onto the next (game) already."

Most of the designing and building of the bots occurs during the fall semester, Holifield said, followed by programming in the winter and competitions in the Spring.

Margaret Christopherson is a reporter for the Journal & Courier. Email her at mchristopherson@jconline.com and follow her on Twitter @MargaretJC2.

This article originally appeared on Lafayette Journal & Courier: 2022 Vex World Championship: Purdue robotics team grabs win