NQRoS was featured on the local news in Townsville!
On Friday the 22nd of May, QUT Robotics Club participated in the inaugural North Queensland Robotic Sumo Competition (NQRoS) hosted by James Cook University (JCU) in Townsville. We took a team of 5 Robotics Club members and three robots to the competition. The original project page can be found here: NQRoS
We flew out in the morning and arrived in Townsville shortly before the competition, where we were picked up and taken to JCU. We were treated to a barbeque lunch, and met the other competitors from JCU and Rowan University. Rowan University is a partner of JCU from New Jersey, USA.
After introductions and a discussion about rules and competition format, the competition began. There were some interesting modifications made to the basic robot kit by different teams. The QUT robots relied on optical distance measuring sensors to detect the other robot. One of our robots had two sensors; one mounted on the front to detect when the other robot was in its sights, and one on the back to detect when it was being followed. This robot also utilised the internal accelerometer to detect collisions. The other two robots had two sensors on the front, allowing them to track and follow the other robot no matter where it went. Unfortunately, our robots had all been designed and tested in an indoor environment and the excess sunlight in the competition area affected the optical sensors. Despite our best efforts attempting to calibrate sensors on the fly, we only managed a few wins with all robots knocked out in the preliminary rounds. The JCU and Rowan teams mostly utilized various ultrasonic sensing solutions, which are unaffected by changes in lighting conditions. In the end, JCU took out first, second, and third place with some tense final matches you can watch below. It was a thoroughly enjoyable and worthwhile experience for all involved.
We also participated in the Rowes Bay Sensory Sprint Day. This was a full day challenge to set up an internet connected environment monitoring system in various ecosystems found within Rowes Bay. Participants from Rowan, JCU and QUT were split up into four teams to develop solutions that gather data, push it to the web, processes it, and aesthetically display the results to a web page. Each team tackled a different ecosystem. You can read more about what we got up to during this sprint event here. This was an interesting and challenging experience, and by the end of the day we had all learned a lot about the diverse skill set required to bring such a system to fruition.
We would like to thank JCU Robotics Club for organising these events and inviting us, all the event sponsors, and our sponsors, the QUT Grants and Development Office, the QUT Experiential Development Fund, and especially Professor David Lovell, Head of School of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, who came through for us with funding that allowed us to get to Townsville.