The 2016 Robot Building Competition – SMEE
The winning team of this year’s Robot Building Competition 2016 and their hard-earned reward, including
Fuel3D Scanner & UP Mini 3D printer
It has been another successful year at the Robot Building Competition 2016; Daniel and Luke of SMEE give us a quick yet insightful rundown on what happened leading up to and on the day of the competition.
The 2016 Robot Building Competition was held at Monash University on the 27th and 28th of August with 150 students from of various engineering disciplines gathering to take part. Some teams had carefully selected their members, determined to finish in first place. Other teams were driven by curiosity, and just hoped to participate and learn as much as they could.
Each group had the same goal, to assemble a robot in one weekend that could pass through an obstacle course. The robot must drive in a straight line along the course from start to finish, with a number of coloured gates blocking the way. To open each gate, the robot must send a specific wireless signal depending on the colour of the gate. The winner was to be the group that made it to the end of the track in the shortest amount of time.
In the weeks leading up to the event, the competitors attended a number of workshops to aid development of the skillset that they would need to complete the competition. These workshops ranged from simple tasks like soldering to complex tasks including programming electronics to read information from a variety of sensors.
Students were also guided through a tutorial on using Computer-Aided Design (CAD) software to created 3D models of robot components. These components were materialised via a 3D printer, and used in the competition.
Competitors arrived early on Saturday, eager to start working on their robots. Each group received a kit of components that included everything they needed to create their robot. A majority of the day was spent assembling the components into a robot with the help of volunteers. Each component that was added required testing to ensure that it functioned correctly, as a successful design could only be achieved with reliable hardware.
By conclusion of the day on Saturday many teams already had robots that could drive, follow a straight line and send out the wireless transmissions to open gates.
Sunday morning gave competitors time to tie their solution together with intelligence by writing code for their robot. The teams had access to test courses, where they could test the functionality of their robot to determine what changes they should mage.
At 2pm on Sunday, the first round of timed heats began with teams attempting to demonstrate reasonable completion of the course to make into the finals. 6 robots were chosen to compete in the final competition, battling for a prize awarded to the top 4 teams. Everyone gathered to watch as each of the final competitors had two attempts at the course, and cheered as each team made it to the end of the course.
The day concluded with a short presentation ceremony, giving thanks to all the sponsors and volunteers.
We hope that students have learnt valuable skills that will be beneficial across a range of disciplines. For example, 3D modelling and printing are becoming vital skills for all streams of engineering. We also hope to have given students a taste of electrical engineering, mechanical engineering and robotics, such that they might pursue these areas of study in the future.
We’ve also noticed within our degree a large disparity in the experience students have from personal projects. Students that have done their own personal projects outside of university have a huge advantage in design based units due to the practical skills they have developed. We hope to have taught some of these skills in an attempt to bridge this disparity.
Daniel Smith -Careers and Sponsorship Representative
Luke Ditria -Secretary