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High school students battle at university’s Engineering Robotics Competition

Robotics showdown is university’s longest-running community outreach event

'Sumobot' battle during the 2016 high school Engineering Robotics Competition hosted and organized by the university's Faculty of Engineering and Applied Science.
'Sumobot' battle during the 2016 high school Engineering Robotics Competition hosted and organized by the university's Faculty of Engineering and Applied Science.

They worked tirelessly throughout the fall to polish up their knowledge of robotics and their abilities to work creatively as a team. After several weekends of tutorials and workshops, on November 26 it was show time.

 

Since 2006, the University of Ontario Institute of Technology’s (UOIT) Faculty of Engineering and Applied Science (FEAS) has encouraged young science experts in high school, middle school and even elementary students, to push the envelope of their developing engineering skills during the annual UOIT Engineering Robotics Competition.

 

More than 50 teams came to campus the robotic battle royale–a contest where each group’s robotic design attempts to push competing robots off the table in a bid to be the last robot standing. The gym was packed with students, teachers and parents.

 

“We welcomed 56 teams representing 25 schools from across the GTA and as far away as Bracebridge,” says competition organizer Dr. Mikael Eklund, Associate Professor, FEAS. “Each year our professors and graduate students are inspired by the enthusiasm and creativity of the competitors. Many participants end up pursuing an education in engineering, and some have become students here at our university.”

 

How does the robotic competition work?

 

Each 'SumoBot' team designs and builds its own autonomous robot using LEGO Mindstorm NXT and EV3 kits. Teams program their robot to ‘survive’ an all-out pushing contest against seven other robots on a huge table.

 

Each robot is a different creation and has varying strategic characteristics. Points are earned in each match by avoiding being pushed off the table by another school’s robot. Extra points are awarded for successfully crossing a small hill in the centre of the table. Teams also earn points for submitting an engineering design report that demonstrates the knowledge competitors have gained throughout the fall.

 

“An event like this showcases how these students are on the right track as they consider post-secondary study opportunities in the engineering, science and technology,” says Dr. Eklund. “While the students take home a lot of lessons and new knowledge, they also get to have a lot of fun through the excitement of competition.”

 

2016 awards:

  • First place: Archbishop Denis O’Connor C.S.S. ‘Team B’, Ajax
  • Second place: Marc Garneau C.I. ‘Team D’, Toronto
  • Third place: Heart Lake S.S. ‘Chak de India’, Brampton
  • Fourth place: St. Thomas Aquinas S.S. ‘Love Waffle’, Brampton
  • Best Engineering Design: Archbishop Denis O’Connor C.S.S. ‘Team B’, Ajax
  • Best New School: St. Jude Elementary School ‘Team A’, Ajax
  • Sportsmanship: Keswick High School ‘Team A’, Keswick
  • Women in Engineering: SATEC @ W.A. Porter C.I. ‘Team B’, Scarborough
  • Most Novel Design: Emily Carr S.S. ‘Team A’, Vaughan
  • Referees’ Award: Archbishop Denis O’Connor C.S.S. ‘Team A’, Ajax

 

This year’s Robotics Competition was made possible through the efforts of many university volunteers (led by FEAS and the Office of the Registrar). For details about registering for the 2017 UOIT Engineering Robotics Competition, please visit roboticscomp.engineering.uoit.ca.

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