Over 900 schoolchildren participate in the Robokid competitions

For the untrained eye, it looked as if toy cars were being remote controlled and driven along a fixed pathway. On closer look, however, the cars turned out to be robots, navigating through the fixed track. There were no remote controls and the robots were programmed by schoolchildren to traverse the 17-metre track.

The students bought robot parts and with little help had assembled them on their own. They were trained to write software too. “We pooled pocket money and purchased parts of the robot. Later, we learned assembling, software, mechanics and electronics involved in making the robot. It’s difficult, but fun too,” said A Sai Karthik Varma, a class eight student of Genesis International School, Madiniguda.

Close to 900 students from various schools participated in the Robokid competitions, organised by city-based robotics company Jay Robotix at B. M. Birla Science Centre on Wednesday. Robotic experts from the company conducted training classes to help students learn the science behind robotics.

The race track had 12 red circles, which represented bombs. If a robot passes through a red circle, it was considered that the bomb was defused. If the robots do not manage to complete the course within five minutes, then the winner was chosen based on the number of bombs the robot managed to diffuse.

The robot made by Delhi Public School (DPS), Gachibowli students remained unbeatable throughout the qualifying rounds and in the knockout stages. In the finals, it defeated a robot designed by Rahul Reddy, a Class 12 student of Vijay Ratna Junior College. “After each qualifying round, bugs and hardware issues of my robot escalated. In the finals, my robot had so many bugs that it simply did not complete the race,” says Rahul.

The students of DPS, Gachibowli, the competition winners, said that they got lucky. “In the final, we could not complete the race because our robot ran out of battery. We won just because we managed to defuse more bombs. You are not allowed to change batteries in the middle of the race and it was pretty tense,” said the team members Punya Modi, Ch. Karthik and Yash Bellap.

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