‘Se-BASH-ton the Robot’: students build combat robot and win award to enhance design

New combat robotics club wins $10,000 from leading robot combat league
‘Se-BASH-ton the Robot’: students build combat robot and win award to enhance design
Engineering students Nathan Reservitz and Simon Jaimes with Se-BASH-ton, the combat robot.

Inspired by the combat robotics competition show BattleBots, two engineering undergrads came together to start a combat robotics club under the UMaker student organization.

Nathan Reservitz and Joshua Prabahar took what they learned in their engineering classes and built Se-BASH-ton the Robot with fellow classmates, eager to attract more participation and funding to the club.

The club competed in Robot Renegades at the South Florida Fair on January 14 & 15 against teams from universities and schools across the Southeast.

“This whole experience has given us the opportunity to explore hands-on prototyping,” Joshua said. “We applied classroom concepts like moment of inertia to make the best bot we could.”

Nathan has a lot to say about what makes the perfect combat robot. “Your robot needs to be able to deal damage, but it also needs to be able to take hits and last the whole match,” he said. “We did a good job of damaging our opponents, but the competition taught us that the next iteration of the robot needs to be smaller and made out of sturdy yet flexible materials.”

On the heels of the competition, they got some great news. The Norwalk Havoc Robot League (NHRL) awarded the club $10,000 to further improve their robot and make the club more competitive.

The grant has enabled the team to grow, with fellow engineering students Simon Jaimes, Amani Hendricks, and Lauren Ristaino joining to help develop two new robots.

They are not the first ‘Canes to fall in love with combat robotics. In the early 2000s, Andrea Suarez, B.S., M.S. ’11, and Michael Gellatly, B.S. ’06, created the University’s first combat robotics team and even competed on BattleBots. They have gone on to create Team Witch Doctor, one of the subculture’s leading teams.

“We hope to reestablish the combat robotics scene here at the University of Miami,” Nathan said. “With this new grant from NHRL, we hope to follow in Andrea and Michael’s footsteps, maybe even making it to BattleBots like they did.”

Diana Arboleda, senior lecturer in the Department of Civil, Architectural, and Environmental Engineering, serves as faculty advisor to the UMaker student organization. “It’s amazing to see the group apply what they learn in class, spending months building Se-BASH-ton, and going on to compete,” she said. “Thanks to funding from Dean Biswas at the College of Engineering, the Student Activity Fee Allocation Committee (SAFAC), and now this grant from NHRL, the club can continue to innovate together and attract more students to combat robotics.”

The club looks forward to further collaboration with the College’s MakerSpace. “Demetrius, the machinist at the MakerSpace, is truly a magician,” Arboleda added.