Robots designed and built by students from middle school through college will try to destroy each other this weekend at the Mall of America.
The goal of the remote control competition is to knock the other machine out or have the other team surrender within three minutes.
While other contests call on robots and their masters to complete tasks, "we try to find out the weakness of the other robot and try to disable it," said Al Jaedike, executive director of the Midwest Robotics League, the competition's sponsor.
"This is a great opportunity for (the students) to take a look at designing and building a robot, but then, just like cars and other equipment has to go through destructive testing, we're doing that with these robots," said Jaedike, who is also a manufacturing instructor at Dunwoody College of Technology in Minneapolis, which owns the league.
Sixteen teams, made up of about six to eight students each, will come from schools across the Midwest and Minnesota including Duluth, Proctor, Minnetrista, and North St. Paul.
Students who participate often go on to technology schools or join companies that design robots, Jaedike added.
"The kids look forward to this all year," he said. "It's really great to have the thousands of people (watching). We have more people at this event than we have at the national event because of being at the Mall of America."
If you go
Midwest Robotics League: Combat Robotics Competition
Where: Sears Court, Mall of America, Bloomington
When: Saturday, 1 p.m. to 6:30 p.m., and Sunday from 1 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. The semi-final match begins Sunday at 4 p.m. and the championship match directly follows.
Here's a video of robots fighting earlier this year at Dunwoody College of Technology: