BattleBots Team “Valkyrie”
Michelle Dawn Mooney talks with BattleBots Team “Valkyrie” on how what they do contributes to the STEM community.
Most people would agree that robots are cool. While often seen only in science fiction, robotics is a real job for people in the STEM (Science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) community. In addition, it is not all behind the scenes: the popular competition program BattleBots teams designed their robots for remote-controlled arena fighting.
Michelle Dawn Mooney, the host of Hai-ly Automated, spoke with the Hai Robotics-sponsored BattleBots team, Valkyrie. The team consists of team captain Lucy Du, engineer Alex Crease (both Ph.D. students at MIT), undergraduate engineering student Esme Abbot, and engineer John Mayo.
Mooney asked the guests what got them interested in robotics in general (not just fighting robots), as it ties within the larger STEM community. The impact of robotics on viewers is substantial and vital to STEM “As a kid, I often watch BattleBots and it is crazy for me to be on the show and to have that kind of impact on the millions of families and kids that watch BattleBots around the world,” said Alex. “Knowing that the work that we do on the show is inspiring so many young people out there to pursue something that they find really cool is important to me.” Regarding the importance of STEM, Alex added, “Science and engineering is always for the people- to improve people’s lives.”
“Growing up, I loved playing with Legos, I loved building stuff, and I loved creating things,” said Lucy, who did not grow up with BattleBots but was interested in making her own mechanical creations. “I just wanted to know why things were the way they were, and engineering is kind of the perfect combination of figuring out why things are the way they are and problem-solving skills to make new things and new solutions to problems that we have.”
While fighting with robots is cool, Team Valkyrie understands the value BattleBots has on its fans, who get to meet the team in person. “In BattleBots, because the larger robotics community is so large, and we get to participate in it, we get to experience all these events with fans,” says Alex. “That’s what makes BattleBots worth it.”