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Saturday, October 30, 2010

Be the Best of Them All

Being in the ROBOCON team of Universiti Teknologi Malaysia is not an easy task. As one of the strong teams in Malaysia, we are struggling everyday to be the top team in Malaysia. It all started from the introduction to the Cairo 2010 games. Ideas have been poured out from each members of the team, keep improving the speed and stability in the competition. Versions after versions of robots have been made and altered to make sure we will win the national competition.

On the national competition day itself, we were more than prepared, physically and mentally. Being in the competition is not easy because of numerous of teams from other institute were strong too. There are a total of 55 teams from 37 institutes in the competition. After series of matches through preliminary rounds and tournaments, we were finally at the end of the competition emerging as champions of Malaysia with UTM A versus UTM B.

Designing and realizing the robots were never easy. The Cairo 2010 games is challenging because of the high accuracy needed. Compared to previous year’s games, the accuracy is not really high and for the Cairo 2010 game, we need to design robots and navigate up to 25mm tolerance. Difficulties are in the placement of blocks. Bringing the blocks to the pyramids and arranging the blocks each poses different types of challenges.

Usually to achieve high accuracy and speed, a lot of expensive sensors are needed. Even with expensive sensors, effective and proper control algorithms are needed. Lacking of both, we always try our best to solve these problems by trial and errors; each members cooperate to achieve the impossible. We work through day and night, using most of our energy and effort putting the best to create our robots. Eventually, our robots are ready for the competition.

Spending most of our time in ROBOCON whole year round does not seems to be a good thing. With a lot of assignments and examinations, we kept struggling to perform in both, ROBOCON and study. Despite this struggle, being in ROBOCON is probably the best thing in our life. Exposed to building and controlling robots, we are buffed with a lot of experience which prepared us in the career world. Most of our seniors never find it hard looking for jobs in elite company outside.

Of course the biggest advantage in joining ROBOCON is to be able to compete with teams from other countries. We were really excited to be selected as the representative of Malaysia in the international game. We feel that being able to meet teams from other country is a privilege because there is so much knowledge to share. We always see the competition as second priority, while the first being able to share knowledge and experience with other teams.

Many methods to construct the pyramids that we though impossible were realized by the other teams. For instance, China and Vietnam used pneumatics system in their robots and Indonesia and Mongolia who used rack and pinion, never came to our mind. These are the experiences that are priceless, being able to learn from other teams. Of course there are many other teams where we can share the mechanisms, electronics and algorithms with.

Despite the fact that we lost in the competition, we have earned a lot of experience and knowledge. This does not bring down hope for the next game in Thailand. We knew the challenge is always there and we knew it is not easy to beat the champion of the international competition.

After the competition, it is important the newcomers to learn what have learned in the international competition. It is also important for them to learn as much methods from the seniors so that the legacy of being the best team in Malaysia stays. As a note to the juniors, the journey is not an easy one but as long as we persevere, we are sure to be the best of them all.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

good sharing...

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