Battle of the bots: Sunset Park kids terminate competition at boro robotics tourney

Top bot: Budding engineers from the Sunset Park Library emerged the top bot builders in Brooklyn following a championship at Brooklyn Public Library’s Central Branch on Feb. 9.
Brooklyn Paper
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These kids are more than meets the eye!

Young geniuses from Sunset Park dominated a borough-wide competition to determine Kings County’s best pint-sized robotics engineers.

The droids duked it out on Saturday at Brooklyn Public Library’s Central Branch in Prospect Heights, where the winners claimed victory over a pack of 8- to 16-year-old bot-builders who all demonstrated exceptional technical skills, according to a library spokeswoman.

“These are pretty young kids in a lot of cases, and they’re doing some amazing work,” said Fritzi Bodenheimer. “Everyone really did well.”

Participants who enrolled via their local libraries built and programmed Lego’s Mindstorm-brand bots, using code to instruct their automatons to complete a number of challenging tasks that, in keeping with the competition’s “Into Orbit” space theme, revolved around delivering alien fossils, rescuing stranded astronauts, and navigating hostile terrain.

The championship featured 12 teams, each of which previously scored either first, second, or third-place prizes in one of the local library system’s four regional tournaments, which drew some 202 budding engineers in total.

The victors representing the Sunset Park Library will now battle other robot-wranglers at a citywide tournament on the distant isle of Manhattan on March 16 and 17. And depending on how they fare, they could go on to pit their creations against other burgeoning brainiacs from across the country, Bodenheimer said.

“The national tournaments are unbelievab­le,” she said. “They fill whole stadiums with people cheering on the robots.”

Reach reporter Colin Mixson at or by calling (718) 260-4505.
Posted 12:00 am, February 12, 2019
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