Battle of the Bots: Day 1

Battle of the Bots: Day 1
August 27, 2014

Day 1 of ITU’s Grand Robotics Challenge came to an end today with many of the 28 teams’ robots being eliminated in the football-like game they were competing against each other in. The remaining robots will play tomorrow in further elimination rounds until we have the grand winner of the Robotics Challenge.

The sense of excitement and energy were palpable in ITU’s 6th floor auditorium this morning as students set their robots up to play against each other. These bots represent months of hard work on part of students as they used the mathematical programming skills they had been taught in the first half of the MATLAB course to build and program their robots over the second half. These ‘intelligent’ Lego Mindstorm robots have been programmed by students to autonomously respond to certain situations, which enables them to compete in the game by themselves.

The playing field is the surface of a billiard table, the opposing ends of which form the competing robots’ home areas. In each four minute game, the two bots begin from the opponents’ home area onto the field which is scattered randomly with ten red and black balls. Each robot is to try to push many balls into their own home area as possible; red balls are awarded with points while black ones deduct them; smart robots with colour sensors are programmed to push the red ones into their home area and repel the black ones.

Students have been very creative in constructing their robots and a sense of healthy competition prevailed over today’s matches. A team demonstrated how their robot Mera Shaheen has been constructed to increase its ball-catching ability while another team claimed that their Fifi (named after a team member’s agile cat) is the fastest robot. The robot Hercules is equipped with an implement which helps it contain the balls it captures and push them over to its home area. Another bot, Dranzer- named after the team members’ favourite Beyblade character- has wings while MAAKA 01 moves on tank tyres and has a lower beacon.
Students are being graded by a panel of ITU faculty members and industry professionals who are using a criterion which includes robot-building skills, creativity and originality, robot aesthetics, team work and competition performance.