Martun Poghosyan, The Rock-Paper-Scissors Robot and The Idea of Freedom

Martun Poghosyan, The Rock-Paper-Scissors Robot and The Idea of Freedom

Martun Poghosyan, a student who has studied programming, game development, web development, graphic design, and has participated in several learning labs, intends to complete every workshop at TUMO. But there is one area that is more than just a hobby or an interest – Martun has taken to the world of robotics like a fish to water. At the age of thirteen, he made his first robot spider using staples. Although it no longer works, it is still Martun’s favorite device among the things he’s invented.

The next thing Martun created was a robot that finds landmines and neutralizes them. “Up to that point, I thought there were two kinds of robots – one that found mines, the other that neutralized them. So I built my own version, which could do both those things at the same time. I then improved that robot’s motor and built a version that could do the work of four.”

After completing every level of the robotics workshop, Martun joined the team of workshop leaders as a volunteer. “I like TUMO very much, especially because it gives the student complete freedom of choice. In my opinion, that is how to work with us kids – show us the available paths and teach us to distinguish between right and wrong. But once you do this, you also need to allow kids to choose on their own,” 17-year-old Martun definitely knows what he’s talking about when it comes to raising children, because he’s the eldest of five kids at home.

“Robots are like kids too – you have to feed them information so that they start to learn. There’s one big difference, though. If you lose control of a robot, you have to have a plan B that would neutralize it or switch the robot off. When it comes to kids, I don’t think a plan B is a good idea,” Martun laughs.

His latest work is a robot that cannot be defeated at rock-paper-scissors because it uses sensors to detect each move its opponent will make. “Instead of sensors, the first version of the robot had an algorithm that predicted the opponent’s next move depending on the first option that was chosen. But people are different, some people play ‘rock’ every move. So using sensors was the only way to achieve a consistent result.”

According to Martun, there are two skills necessary for building a good robot – predicting all the ‘ifs’ in a given situation with solutions calculated for each one, and being able to imagine the complete robot in one’s mind at the very beginning. Martun is in twelfth grade now and will soon start studying at the State Engineering University of Armenia. During the period of his exam preparation, he would spend the one-hour commute from TUMO to his home in Kharberd solving physics and mathematics problems. “We all solve math problems in the bus on the way. Everything is a part of the process.”


Last year, when his house was being remodeled, Martun took on the complete responsibility for installing the electric wiring. “I couldn’t find the tester so I used the remote control for a toy car to test the current. Repairing all our neighbors’ devices has actually become a regular thing for me now.”