Saturday, April 21, 2012

Competition days in Anaheim

Posted by Dawn at Saturday, April 21, 2012
The competition days in Anaheim, California was from 19th to 21st.
Since it was my first time in the Worlds Competition, I do not know what to expect but probably more intense and tiring than Asia Vex Competition in Taiwan last year since this time we will be competing against few hundred teams, a total of almost 20 different countries.
However, I was wrong. In fact, it was more fun and relaxing than Asia Vex Competition. I think Asians are just too tensed and competitive. So, there was quite a lot of animosity during the competition with our competitors and judges. However here in the Worlds, everyone just seem to be having so much fun! It was a more encouraging and fun environment! This is a picture of 2 of my students with Green Egg Team which is famous in the Robotics scene since last year's amazing robot which they built!
Take a look! Our school did well in the local and Asia competitions that we got 4 seatings in the World Competition. So we built 4 robots for the competition. The students named them FT2 (Fast Turtle Version 2), Atom (name from Real Steel Movie), Thor and Zeus.
I have to say my students have practiced so hard that they stand out among the rest of the few hundred teams. When I was viewing their competition, I heard the Americans commenting how good our robot is..how fast and efficient. I felt so proud of my students and just by being part of this whole experience.
Judges also came by our booth many times to view our robot.. and to see how it works...and to see if we deserve any awards for the design and creativity for building this robot.
The whole convention centre is a huge place and this whole place was used for the competition. There were booths set up for various exhibits like the mars rover and the future lab.
Anyway, after each team played for 10 matches in the qualifying rounds, all our 4 teams manage to get into the top 10 which gives us a chance to choose our alliance and have a chance in the finals. My role there was basically to run lots of errands! I was in charge of buying food for the students, making sure they are not hungry.
I also planned and make sure that their schedule for the day is running smoothly as they have to go and report for their matches and to rest their robots and to assign a "coach" with them. Each team basically has 3 people. We have 2 controllers who control the robot and for the third person, he would be the "coach" or I would say, "play maker" to direct the controllers and tell them where to go. Here's my working table where I plan the schedule..
And our results for the day..written in marker. Some matches we lost because our teams fought against each other. So one team had to lose.
I was also the coach for the team. So went into the matches to compete with them. This match that I was in was the semi-finals.
There was also the unveiling of our next game/challenge for the new season which we were all excited about. Every season, there is a new challenge to compete in..This year's game is called "Gateway" Next year's game is called, "Sack Attack".

I was a little disappointed by the announcement and introduction of the new game as it seems so juvenile since its all about sacks. (brings me back to my primary school days). However, it is very challenging as its not easy to build a robot to pick up the sacks as its quite thin and light. Moreover, de-scoring is back! It means after scoring your sacks in the goal, your opponents can swipe it away and de-score your sacks!

Anyway, on the final day of competition, our teams did outstanding. In the end, 2 of our teams fought against each other to get into the finals.

Besides the main fighting event, we also have skills challenge which was a side event competition which our school came in top 3. In the end, the top 2 teams displayed their robot skills in front of a crowd of thousands to see who is the ultimate winner and I was so scared they would fumble in their controlling but I was so proud of them as one of the team obtained a PERFECT score in it within a time limit of 1 min!

With the pressure from the time and crowd and the "mission impossible" music playing in the background (how 'apt' this music was chosen to play), team Atom emerged as the winner and manage to get all the balls and barrels into the goal within 1 min which no team in the world could achieve it! So it was a world record set! So proud of them!

In the end, we won a total of 9 awards. The best school with the most number of awards in the competition! -Robot Skills World Champion (1st, 2nd and 3rd) -Tournament Champion (Middle School Division-1st and 2nd) -Programming Skills (Middle School Division-2nd) -Build Award -Innovate Award -Create Award

All that hard work and sacrifice has finally been paid off and with this results, these guys sure have a great story to tell for the rest of their lives..
Here's the press release of the results

I leave you now with an exciting match by my students in the robot skills challenge with a perfect score in one minute! (video taken and posted by someone in the audience)

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