Craig Danby, a familiar face on Discovery Channel’s Battlebots, will appear with Johnston County’s only all-girl, FIRST Lego League robotics team, the Techno Tigresses, in mid-November for a free, community event.
Since 1997, Danby has appeared on both the United Kingdom’s Robot Wars and United States’ Battlebots with such well-known heavyweight robots as Foxic, Foxtrot, Tanto and Predator. Battlebots, which started in 2010, now airs in 150 countries.
As Danby prepares for the 2020 season his team is sponsored by Mowbot, a Durham-based, environmentally-friendly, full-service lawn care provider. Danby will display some of his battle-ready robots during the community event hosted by Rainbow Lanes Family Fun Center on NC-42 in Clayton on Saturday, Nov. 16 from noon-2pm.
Danby, who leads the only Battlebot team from the Carolinas, became involved with the middle-school aged Techno Tigresses in late August when he spoke to the team about his career and education in robotics. He offered to mentor the rookie team as they prepare for their first competition later this year.
“A core value of Mowbot is to reach into our communities to improve the lives of our neighbors,” said Danby. “I can’t think of a better way to do this than by inspiring the next generation of robotics engineers. These girls are passionate about this, and it’s fun to relate to them on this level.”
The Techno Tigresses, along with a few other Johnston County teams, will display their LEGO EV3 Mindstorm robot and demonstrate some challenges used for competition. The girls will also talk about the FIRST Lego League robotics program which is open to students ages 9-14. Currently Johnston County is home to six competitive FIRST Lego League teams, but there are more than 30,000 teams globally.
In addition to sharing his experience engineering and designing robots, and preparing for the next season of Battlebots, Danby will also share information about robot fighting leagues that use combat robots known as “insect class” robots that can range from .5 lbs to 3 lbs.
“If you’re at all interested in robotics there is something here for everyone,” said Shannon Mann, coach of the Techno Tigresses. “We’re excited to partner with Craig, and some other special guests, to spread the word about what wonderful programs are out there for youth interested in growing their knowledge and skills through STEM.”
Battlebots airs on Discovery Channel on Friday nights at 8pm.