Designing and building a robot performing dual tasks of either catching or evading an opponent’s robot within a circular arena, was the challenge given for the semester 3 EN2532 module, Robot Design & Competition. The students rose up to this comparatively tedious challenge while developing ones knowledge base and skill set in an enjoyable manner.
An overhead camera was used to determine the positions and velocities of each of the robots, and the data was transmitted to the two teams in real time at a predetermined rate. A round commenced when a START command was received by both robots simultaneously; and ended when the chaser bot touched the evading bot or when a bot goes beyond the boundary or ultimately after a time lapse of 100 seconds. Then the STOP command was sent to both bots. Two cylindrical obstacles were also placed at random positions and the robots had to undergo their task avoiding collision with the obstacles or incur a penalty. Points were calculated considering the mean distance maintained with an additional time-based bonus.
The initial evaluation in which each group delivered a presentation showcasing their preliminary design and strategy, was conducted in June. Mid evaluations were held in late July, where each group demonstrated a working robot platform that can navigate in the arena. Prof. Rohan Munasinghe gave his valuable advice and insight on each robot in discussions with each group.
Days of hard work and sleepless nights finally culminated with the evening of the Robot Competition on the 12th of October 2015. Amidst a wide variety of spectators from various departments, the competition kicked off with much enthusiasm. The judging panel was headed by Mr Buddhima Gamlath. For the group stage, 20 teams of 5 members each, were divided into 5 groups, named group A to E consisting of 4 teams per group. Each team competed against all the other teams in the same group. At this stage a total of 30 matches were contested with each team playing 3 matches. The leaders of the 5 groups proceeded to the next round. Since the leading teams of groups B, C and E were unbeaten, having won all 3 games; they automatically advanced to the semi-finals. To determine the remaining slot of the semi-finals, the leaders of groups A, team 6, and of group D, team 17 duelled a knockout match, in which team 6 prevailed. In the 1st semi-finals match between teams 4 and 5, Team 5 emerged victorious while in the 2nd semi-finals between teams 6 and 15, team 15 triumphed. Finally team 15 emerged champions with an unbroken winning streak, while team 5 was runners up.