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Selkirk College’s RoboGames Drives Youth Enthusiasm for Technology

Kirsten Hildebrand
By Kirsten Hildebrand
March 26th, 2018

When the doors open on RoboGames 2018, youth from around the region will be ready to throw their robot in the ring after weeks of building and training their creation.

GLOWS at Selkirk College is hosting the technology-fueled fun and free-spirited annual event on April 28 on the Castlegar Campus. Students have been hard at work preparing – using a robot kit and their imagination to build a strong competitor for the final contest.

Brian Malito is a Grade 12 student from J L Crowe Secondary School in Trail. He’s competed in four RoboGames including the first one held in Nelson in 2010.

“I got interested in robotics because of the idea that people could make non-living objects move,” Malito says, looking back to his early days of robotics. “I found it so fascinating and I also had an interest in programming and wanted to know more.”

Absolutely no prior experience is needed to enter into RoboGames which means anyone can delve into this growing phenomenon. Online tutorials guide students through every step from unpacking the robot from its box to programming and training it for the ring.

“Don’t be afraid to try new things. Robotics may be challenging but it’s worth it in the end. Watch the online tutorials on the website and learn something new. Innovative ideas are something we all like to see, and it is so satisfying in the end to be able to say ‘I built that.’ Just remember no dangerous weapons,” says Malito quoting one of the few rules restricting creation.

Brad Pommen is the Nelson Tech Club founder who enthusiastically brought RoboGames to the Kootenay-Boundary region. He offers online sessions youth can follow at their own pace and hosts the main event that features a variety of contests such as obstacle course, balloon popping and robot battles.

“RoboGames is designed to promote science and technology learning among our young community members by making science and technology fun, accessible and non-intimidating,” Pommen says. “It’s been incredibly fun for me as well. Seeing youth enthusiasm for robotics, something I’ve been interested in for so long, grow is completely rewarding. I also love seeing new ideas come forward every year.”

Malito enjoys the opportunity to experiment with robots and work together with other youth sharing his interests.

“The best part about RoboGames is when you see the amount of competition, and the variety of different robots that you will be competing against,” says Malito.“My favorite robot that I’ve entered in the past RoboGames was The Ferocious Claw Master 2000. It was a robot with claws and a tail with spikes on the side of it.”

In the fall of 2018, Malito will begin studies in Selkirk College’s Digital Arts & New Media Program with a goal of becoming a lab director developing software and operating machines. He’s interested in continuing his RoboGames learning as a behind-the-scenes helper. 

The public is welcome to attend this event unique to our region. Come out to the Castlegar Campus Gymnasium to cheer on your favourite robot. The first event kicks off at 10 a.m. and prizes will be awarded at 3 p.m. Competitors register at 9 a.m.

There is also still time to sign up as a competitor. Youth who already have their robot kit at home can register until April 6. Find out more at


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