Four students from Curtin University of Technology, Sarawak Malaysia recently represented the University in the Malaysia Robot Contest 2009.
The third year Electronics and Communication Engineering students began building their robots only four months before the contest.
The theme of this year’s contest was Travel Together for the Victory Drums where the aim was to build three robots with the last robot hitting three vertically arranged traditional Japanese drums at the finish line.
Although the team, also known as CUTIES, did not get to the finals their team advisor and mentor Terence Tan said the experience taught them things that cannot be learnt in a regular classroom.
‘They have learnt beyond what the textbook teaches and have seen how theoretical work can be applied into real world problems. It’s a really good step in their lifelong learning,’ he said.
Team leader Sia Yee Yu said although they had much less time and money than many of the other teams they still did considerably well but admits it wasn’t enough.
‘Some other robots were performing much better than ours. We still have to improve our technique,’ he said.
The team’s first match nearly ended in disaster when two of their robots collided during an task. Undaunted, they spent the night repairing both before the match the next day.
Sia Yee Yu said despite the many challenges they faced during the process he believes in the saying, ‘where there’s a will, there’s a way’.
Mr Tan said it was the first time the University had participated in the competition but it will not be the last.
‘We have learnt our lessons well and the students upon returning back have done a post mortem and reflected on improvements and strategies for next year. We have opened the team to juniors and look forward to joining the competition once again,’ he said.