Katherine Daniel, Editor in Chief~
On Sunday, Nov. 4, Vector Space will host its third annual robot combat event. The Hill City Robot Battle, modeled after the famous BattleBots television show and replicating the Street Fighter video game, will take place at the Virginia Episcopal School from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m.
According to the New in Lynchburg website, people from as far as northern Virginia and North Carolina were able to enter their robots into the competition with a $20 fee, all hoping to claim the coveted prize of tools, robot parts, and Vector Space membership. With the competition just days away, and currently 20 competitors ready for battle, the stakes are high for these robots to win it all.
Adam Spontarelli is the Director of Education and co-founder of Vector Space, and has been with the company since their doors opened in the Spring of 2016. With this year’s preparation currently underway, he hopes that new changes are enough for more action and competitiveness.
“[This is] the first [robot combat event] that will feature an enclosed arena, which allows the robots to use more powerful and terrifying weapons. We’ve been busy building the arena, recruiting participants, and helping robot builders,” Spontarelli said.
According to Spontarelli, the robot combat event is structured in such a way that gives all competitors equal opportunities on the playing field. With a tournament style bracket set in motion, anyone could come out on top.
“There are two weight classes and each is structured as a double-elimination, tournament style bracket. Bots fight one-on-one, and the bot that survives until the end wins,” Spontarelli said.
In the past and present, Vector Space has had positive connections with the Lynchburg community. Because the company was founded right here in Lynchburg, it’s remarkable to see such a good cause working with the university’s faculty. In particular, Spontarelli recalls the benefits Vector Space reaped from the University’s own bike collection.
“Dr. Kevin Peterson helped us immensely last year when we built ten custom bicycles by chopping up and re-welding donated bikes from University of Lynchburg’s impressive collection,” Spontarelli said. “Unfortunately, we have not found an opportunity to collaborate since then, but we certainly hope to in the future.”
Another hope for Vector Space is that they will have the means to put together more community events like the Hill City Robot Battle that attracts all kinds of competitors and audience members.
“Our next student project, which starts in January, is one for teen girls that combines fashion and technology. It’s a chance for girls to learn to make garments, circuits, and to program computers. That project will end with a fashion show at Lynchburg Mini Maker Faire on March 24th, which will be the next big community event. If you can’t wait that long, we’re always open for First Fridays, where we host a free, family-friendly activity ranging from power tool pumpkin carving, to concrete coaster making,” Spontarelli said.