Oakdale Students Put Robotic Twist On March Madness

OAKDALE (KDKA) — Fourth and fifth graders at Donaldson Elementary in Oakdale squared off in the battle of the sumo-bots.

The robotic twist on March Madness culminated a four-week outreach program with Pittsburgh Technical Institute.

“We gave them a magnetic kit and we worked through and we made electromagnets and we made diode circuits,” PTI’s Dave Becker said. “We made motors. And we finished off today with the sumo-bot competition.”

Though PTI students built the robots, kids who took them over know exactly how they work.

“I learned that with a coil of wire and a magnet you can create energy and electricity,” Casey Bachowski said.

Each mini-bot contains a microcontroller, similar to every electrical device in every home.

Each robot comes with a pair of sensors. One sensor keeps the robot on the mat. The other seeks out the opponent to push it off the mat.

After the Sweet 16 and Final Four, a champion was crowned electromagnetically.

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