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UWaterloo First Robotics Competition 2010

March 28, 2010

Here at Waterloo, our annual First Robotics Competition for High School students was held on Thursday to Saturday, March 25-27, 2010.  The competition is for high school students who are interested in building and programming robots to see who has the most innovative, successful and smartest robot of the competition:

A DannyChoo and blogging member, Argyle (who recently quit blogging T_T) was part of his high school team.  He twittered in the morning at 9 and I found out at 11AM that he was at Waterloo.  I tagged along with him for the majority of the day to watch how the other teams also did:

This year’s robotic’s competition was creating a vehicle that can either move over ramps or under tunnels and shoot soccer balls into the goal.  In the last 20 seconds, if you cling onto the middle sections and lift up, you can score 2 points for your team.  Here’s a match of what was going on during one of the games:

The teams were pretty competitive and the matches were worth while to watch!  Here are pictures of what was happening around the competition grounds:

Large crowds chearing their their school team!

Back stage for teams to tune their robots!

CTV was at Waterloo to record some of the action!

Waterloo has money to purchase programmable cleaners on the field during break ^_^

Mozilla Firefox sponsored vehicle!

Being backstage and talking to some of the contestants, we were able to grab some really nice pins… especially the FireFox ones!


It was a lot of fun watching some of the games!  There was little to no competition involved as teams worked little together and spent more time trying to hog other teammate’s soccer balls.  I do not know all the rules so the house rules could indicate the player who scored the most wins and this situation would make players want to score more points themselves than to help others.  Still, if you are not going to score due to obstacles, at least help others and send the soccer balls in their direction…

It’s a very immature event IMO… the students are all there and think only for themselves.  After watching a few rounds, even the mentors I talked to were all about one thing: “Who we are against and what’s good about their robots”.  There was little concern for how they should strategically play and how the adjustments to their own robots would make the cart different to the driver.  There was a lack of communication to other team players and I find this really challenging.  Teams felt safe when they were with good players and nervous when against… a very poor judgement for team to make when playing co-operatively.  Rely on your teammates and help them out during tough situations… great team play beats the ability of a single unit any time!

There’s my story on First Robotics… it was still fun to see what students do to customize their unit even though they lacked good teamwork.  Oh well, maybe next year will be much more interesting if teams actually help each other out more… T_T doubt it but I can at least hope…

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5 Comments leave one →
  1. wakarimasenlol permalink
    March 28, 2010 11:01 pm

    I remember going to watch a robotics competition way back, might actually have been this one. I wasn’t geeky enough to enjoy it back then though.

    • March 29, 2010 12:16 am

      Don’t worry, eventually you’ll be geeky enough to put on anime stickers onto robots and claim that you can drive with new-type abilities… LOL ^_^ Come over and visit Waterloo when you have the time ^_^

  2. moemoekyun permalink
    March 29, 2010 3:22 pm

    when I watch robotic competition or another competition in reality it looks so boring. so I only watch via video these days @_@

  3. April 5, 2010 3:53 am

    Totally true dude~ It’s been like that for the last few years I’ve been watching Robotics competitions cuz I take Comp Engineering classes…..and thats why I barely cared about my team -___- sooo pathetic……
    Your thought hit the bulls eye man~ haha

  4. nar permalink
    April 11, 2010 4:29 am

    I assume you were only there for the first 1/2 days watching from the stands?

    The way the competition works is that first there is a series of “qualifying” matches. In this case, you compete with randomly selected teams against other randomly selected opponents and then you get ranked based on your results.

    Afterwards the top ranked teams would be selected as Alliance Captains, they then each pick from the remaining teams to form 3 team alliances to compete in the actual elimination rounds. Those elimination rounds is when you actually see the teamwork and heavy customization.

    Typically, during the first 2 days, all teams that know what they are doing (and actually trying to win, there are quite a few teams that are just there to win awards or have a good time) are doing a few things. 1: they are trying to gather as much information as they can about every other robot. 2: Trying to win matches so they can be a high ranked alliance captain (and thus get the best picks of the teams). 3: Look as attractive as possible to possible high ranked alliance captain. Teamwork is usually non-existant then since people have different goals and you basically meet your teammates right before you start.

    Then during the actual elimination rounds teams will typically gather together, assign roles (usually 2 scorers and 1 bully bot(defence)) and plan on how to beat the other team using the information they got from the qualifiying rounds.

    Anyways, thats my short primer on how the competition works, used to be a Head Programmer/Co-leader for my team. Actually my team was there too so if you where there on saturday or late friday I might have passed you by.

    Though, now a days when I watch a robotics competition I feel relieved. No longer do I have to think, OMG how are we going to beat those guys? or >_< our drive system just shredded itself and our next match is in 20 minutes.

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