March 30, 2011
School of Engineering, Bengaluru
“Sentience ’11 was a brilliant display of innovation, logic and of course, a great deal of fun,” stated student organizers from ACROM, the Amrita Club for Robotics and Mechatronics at the School of Engineering, Bengaluru.
A competition between robots, the event brought together not only several enthusiastic engineering students but also their faculty members.
As bots strove to outshine and outperform one another, spectators were impressed with the technical capabilities of the student teams that had put these contraptions together.
Given below is a detailed student account of the two-day contest.
Our maiden robotic competition, Sentience ’11, pitted robots against obstacles such as sand traps and ramps and also against robots made by opponent teams. Judges’ rules tested both the design and the logic, as participant teams tried to make the most of the resources allotted to them. The competition formally began when Br. Dhanraj ji flagged off the Robothon/>.
A robotic obstacle race, Robothon saw participating robots follow a given track, a task which would have been easy, were it not for the obstacles randomly placed around the track. In the first round, robots navigated across bends and ramps. Those that qualified, went on to compete in the more gruelling second round.
This second round had sand on several stretches of the track. Not an easy path for any robot to traverse. Students scratched their heads, trying to figure out the best programming logic that would enable their bots to easily surmount this obstacle. An impressive effort put forth by several student teams, saw their robots move ahead.
The second day witnessed Battlebots, a robot competition of sumo proportions. In order to qualify, the robot had to push a black box out of the ring. Things started heating up, however, as the second round began. Robots struggled furiously to push their competitors out of the ring, while trying to make sure that they stayed in.
A number of black boxes placed inside the ring added to the chaos; these effectively interfered with the robot’s logical execution of programmed commands. Student teams watched helplessly as their robots, distracted by a black box, were pushed out by another robot.
Teams had the opportunity to modify their programming logic. Some teams took an extra step and modified their robots from standard droids to true Battlebots. Some modified the wheels for better manoeuvrability and speed; some others sacrificed speed for strength by adding inclined hull plates in the front to prevent direct attacks. As furious struggles continued, robot PUMA won the first place.
Sentience ’11 owed much of its success to the patronage and support of our mentor, Dr. T. S. B. Sudarshan. Dr. S. R. Nagaraja, Chair, Student Activities; Dr. Shikha Tripathi, Vice-Chair, ECE Dept and Dr. S. G. Rakesh, Associate Dean, all provided encouragement and support. Above all, many ASE faculty members were with us every step of the way.