Emeryville Team Building at Zymergen Yields Bountiful Robot Battles!
Emeryville Team Building is an interesting proposition because space is at an all-time premium. One could blink walking through Emeryville and catch a glimpse of the future of city civilization. Centered around BART, the area includes dining options, offices, and entertainment within walking distance of BART – limited parking, designated bike lanes protected by pylons, and a clean, safe, and high tech feel. Zymergen fits perfectly and has an amazingly modern space above Whole Foods across the street from a truly futuristic building just completed (still empty as of December 2018) and directly connected via a pedestrian walkway to the BART station. Luckily Zymergen has a large “all-hands-on-deck” space that hosts any size team building event.
We hosted four teams on our final day of robot building and combat which left plenty of room to battle for 2 hours. Whereas the previous two events at Zymergen yielded World Records, this one yielded an extended and vigorous battle session. Since this was the last day of a three day robot battle extravaganza, both the building teams and the TeamWorx staff were eager to test the limits of the robots and keep battling until carpal tunnel limited our effective mobility.
We never got there, but we did use the entire three hours and between two TeamWorx expert robot technicians and 6 teams of newly initiated robot experts – the down time was truly minimal and the battles were quick, responsive, and strategic until the end. We used a new melee format with great feedback from the group: 1 person per round – 1st to 10 points or most points after 5 minutes. Each person has a round in the melee. We ended up having approximately a dozen melees or more – a compelling format.
Matt, our resident robot expert, teamed up with Shervin, our host from Zymergen, to build a robot with two people. They actually beat all teams and approached – but did not break – the existing record. Matt of course has built this same robot hundreds, if not thousands, of times, so his two person time with Shervin was definitely an “Outlier.” Even he and Shervin could not beat the best team time. A victory for teamwork no doubt.
We did have a robot of note which, through a mistake in building, ended up wider than the other bots. After a series of poorly chosen names we ended on “wide-bot” – which could be said with different intonations to express cheering or jeering. We loved wide-bot, however, it should be noted it needed an almost complete overhaul of several components before its true fighting potential could be reached in the melee.
We are sad to say goodbye for now to Zymergen, to Shervin, and to all of the great participants and World Record holders! Thank youRobot Team Building