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RIT students getting ready for 'Battlebots'

Students at RIT are putting the finishing touches of their combat robot - one they'll be using to compete in this season of BattleBots.

Henrietta, N.Y. - In just three weeks, Blindside Robotics, a team of students from the Rochester Institute of Technology, will be in Los Angeles for a taping of the TV show BattleBots.

This week, the team is putting the finishing touches on their combat robot

"A lot of sleep loss, but we find it a lot of fun," said Bennett Wong, a first-year manufacturing engineering technology major at RIT.

"Every day is stressful, but at the end of the day you're like, I'm going to be on Battlebots!" said Lydia Yeckley, a second-year mechanical engineering major at RIT.

Wong and Yeckley are two of nine students that make up the team. They both said they are excited to be part of a show they grew up watching - one that shaped their current career paths.

More than half of the team competed in US FIRST Robotics in high school.

"We're still college students, but we're ready," said Wong. "We're prepared to compete with the professionals."

"We have mechanical engineers actually machining metal, building the robot, designing the robot - then we have electrical engineers," said Kyle Suero, a sophomore computing security major. "There are people like me working on the code, making sure our systems run."

Blindside Robotics was one of 400 teams to apply back in November. In January, a producer from the show called Yeckley to let her know they were one of the teams chosen to compete. Blindside is one of four all-student teams to make the cut.

The team has spent countless hours in the shop, working on their bot. Last week, during spring break, they were working anywhere from 16 to 18 hours a day. Now, they are fitting in any time between and after classes to get their bot finished. They have to ship it out to Los Angeles for the competition on April 5.

The team members are not allowed to show us what they've been working on, but they did share a little about what can be expected.

"A 'spectacle' is a good way to say it," said Yeckley. "We have a lot of tricks up our sleeves and plan on using them as best as possible."

Building a combat robot is pretty pricey. The team said the university has helped them, and they've also paid out of pocket for some of the expenses.

You can check out their finished product this summer on BattleBots. It will air on 13WHAM ABC.

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