If WALL-E Took Up Boxing

Matthew Vasquez is a full-time electromechanical engineering technology student, and a part-time robot builder.

Or maybe it is the other way around.

A smiling, male CPP Engineering student tipping his black cap. The cap has the text MEGGITT. His button shirt has logos with the text Go Engineer and Max Amps.

For years, he and his family have competed in BattleBots®, an internationally televised competition that airs on the Discovery Channel. Top-tier teams from around the world fight against each other with their 250 pound robots ready for combat. These one-on-one metal melees often end in shrapnel, something on fire, or sometimes both. Vasquez's robot, Whiplash, came in second place out of 60 competitors in 2020. With the next competition being held in August 2021, Vasquez shows us how he is getting ready.

Preparing for Battle

A male CPP Engineering student works on a battle robot

"The meta right now is vertical spinners. The best counter is to get underneath them and flip them upside down."

Whiplash does both. Vasquez shows the lifting apparatus of his bot. The green vertical spinner is attached to the lifter.

Research and Development

A male CPP Engineering student works in his garage.

It all happens in Vasquez’s garage—research and development, testing and manufacturing.

"I've been around my dad forever building robots. At this point, I plan to keep doing it as long as it [BattleBots®] exists."

Robot Rock

Two human-controlled battle robots engage in combat in an arena. One of the robots is one fire. A robot on the left has the text Whiplash. Battlebots signage is visible behind the robots.

"With evenly matched robots, it comes down to who’s the better driver. The nerves were worse in the beginning, but as the years go on, the nerves start to go away. As you get more competitive, you learn to just take care of the task at hand.”