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Robo TV at the World Robot Olympiad 2017 in Costa Rica

This year, motion plastics® specialist igus® is supporting the Robo TV team from Paul Klee High School in Overath The team comprising of Lukas Zink, Christian Weyers and Alexander Albers is competing this year at the international World Robot Olympiad in Costa Rica. The competition revolves around completing a task within a specified period of time using a Lego robot assembled and software programmed by the team itself especially for the purpose. This year, all the tasks of the competition deal with the topic of "Renewable Energy".
Jochen Haas, the three boys' teacher and head of the Robotics Club reports from the WRO in Costa Rica.

Robo TV helps Swiss team

Friday, 10.11.2017 – Training day

The team got up early, at 6.30 am local time and took the 8.30 am shuttle to the competition venue. Once the team had found its place at the table in the competition area, preparations and trial runs began. Unfortunately, the transfer cable had gone missing in Paris but we were given a replacement by another team. This makes up part of the atmosphere of this Olympiad – because everyone helps everyone else. For example, Robo TV also helped a Swiss team that was no longer able to launch its software and reinstalled the program. After that, the young people who had been despairing were able to start work again and prepare for the Olympiad. All test runs were successful and so Robo TV were then able to practice putting the robot together as it must be dismantled at the beginning of the competition. Around 7 pm, all accompanying staff and the team in the German sector watched the opening ceremony, the highlight was the entry of the representatives of all 53 nations with their respective flags.

Saturday, 11.11.2017 – first day of the competition

At 6.50 am Robo TV started out for the venue and they had hardly arrived when the team met their first surprise. It was only possible to enter the competition area with a dismantled robot, contrary to experience made to date. Bags and similar containers were organised and, sitting on the floor, dismantling began. After the parts had been scrutinised, Robo TV was allowed to enter the venue and began building the robot along with 74 other teams in their category. Around 9 am, the additional task was presented that initially caused confusion on account of a typo. Unfortunately, today's testing period was not as successful as in the past and a lot of time was spent on trouble-shooting. Around 11.30 am, the robots had to be taken to the scrutineering area where the dimensions of the robots are checked. For the competition runs, all robots have to be taken from there and also put back there after the run. This procedure takes place for all competition runs. Everyone waited in suspense for the first run. But the robot missed a line and therefore took a completely chaotic course. The team aborted the run and received 0 points. But they were not the only ones. In the second run, the robot lost its bearings once again and had to be stopped before the end of the run – for which the team received a further 0 points. In the third run, the robot built one turbine correctly but got lost once again. This means that the team was awarded 50 points for today's performance and still ended up in 31st place of 75 teams. This shows that a large number of teams were suffering from similar problems and that the task is quite complicated after all.

Robo TV with their Lego robot
Alexander Albers with the Lego robot

Sunday, 12.11.2017 – second day of the competition

The additional task for today was announced at 8 am and then all participants had 60 minutes' time to adapt and test their robots. The test runs were really quite promising and everyone was waiting in suspense for the first run of the day. Initially, everything seemed to be running according to plan and the robot collected the right parts for the first turbine. But when it got to the correct frame, the robot turned the wrong way and lost its orientation so that this run was aborted with 0 points. This caused tension to rise because the second and last run of the day was now decisive. The team made intense use of the 60 minute practice period and everyone was tense. Around 11.30 am, everything was set and the final run commenced. The team placed the robot in its starting position and set off immediately after the judge had given the starting signal. It collected the first two bricks for the turbine and also placed the correct third one on top. It then travelled on to the correct foundation brick and put them together correctly (50 points). The robot also repeated this with a second set of bricks and built another turbine. This meant that the team had achieved 100 points for this run and a total of 150 points for the two days. At the end of the day, this was sufficient for 21st place of 75 teams. The team had therefore done better than the older participants and improved its ranking by 8 places in comparison to the previous year.


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