Robocon 2008

Team Instructor: Er. Ramesh Chaudhary

Team Leader: Dinesh Twanabasu

Team Members: Dinesh Twanabasu, Saroj Thapa,  Suraj Amatya (official) and other 16 students.

 

Extracted from the club members' journal of that year:

This year the enthusiasm and anticipation for participating in the competition is high as it is going to be held in our neighboring country, India. So a large group of students joined this project.

We started the project under the guidance of our seniors who worked for last year’s ROBOCON.  The team consists of 10 students from Electronics and Communication Department and 9 students from Department of Mechanical Engineering. As we don’t have a faculty dedicated for robotics and automation we had a very little knowledge in robotics. In the beginning we studied the system used in old robots and understood the basic working of robots. We studied the theme of the game, system requirements and drew a rough diagram and working mechanism of robots.

The most difficult and determining part of any project, “the beginning”, we were going through the same. The toughest part was to choose the right material for mechanical components to be used and basic model/design of the robots. Most of the time we were busy searching different algorithms and navigation techniques. We studied many journals and technical papers related to robotics. We then started to study for the components that were needed in the system. Spending hours and hours on the internet, we finally got the clear view of how our robots were to be.

We had a real hard time finalizing the robots design. More people, more views and strategies. Deciding what to do and what not to do, we were in a dilemma. Some of the designs were more than simple and other so complex that realization of the model was next to impossible. So we decided to “Kiss”. It’s “Keep it Simple Stupid” a phrase popular among robot hobbyists.

After research we started looking for the materials needed in our local market. In a developing country where a handful of people are technically aware and know about robotics and automation, finding the right electronics components and  mechanical parts was like extracting diamond in a coal mine. We visited many junkyards in town searching rare ICs, steel channels and other usable parts. The remaining parts which were unavailable here were to be imported from abroad. Making small mechanical components, which are easily accessible in foreign countries, the effort and dedication required multiplied itself. It was like making robots from scrap. Using very primitive materials and spending midnight hours working on lathe and milling machine our mechanical team had to go through tough time.

Electronics team is busy working with circuits and programming. We were divided into different team (sensors, programming & interfacing, and driver circuits). Each team after going through a research and experiment used to do a presentation in front of other team members to share the results they obtained through research.

In a short time the bond between the team members became very strong. We used be together all the time. Most of the times, we were working at night as we had to attend classes in day. After college all the team members regroup and get started. We worked till after midnights. The mechanical team and electronics team were indulged in their own business most of the time. It was a relaxing moment when the team sat together for a coffee break. We used to discuss on game strategies and robots design. And the funniest part was when we were busy discussing out of the blue the cookies used to vanish. One or other naughtiest member used to crack practical jokes over cookies. After a while of chill out we went back to work. It was almost 3:00 am and time to sleep. The next morning we woke up at 9:00am and everyone in rush for college. This has been our daily routine.

Testing the program in robots was the most tedious work for programmers while the team enjoyed witnessing the robots madness. The software team used to spare nights trying to get control of the robot. A great relief and a feeling of contentment could be seen in the face of all the team members when the robots were finally completed. After all the hard work, the effort  now seemed worthy enough to be proud of.

Working for Robocon has been a great experience and a test of our theoretical knowledge in practical field. We have learnt how a system is completed working as a team. Robocon has been a great learning curve for us to prepare ourselves for our professional career. It has made us optimistic about our capability to make a better future and contribute for the development of the nation.

We are looking forward to the competition in Pune. We believe we will have a great experience. We expect our robots to perform well.  We wish all other participating teams to have a great time preparing for the ABU Robocon.