AY1718 Robotics Club CCA
by Tan Kee Meng (S2L) and Mak Zheng Ping Michael (S2S)
This year, the highlight of the Robotics Club CCA was preparing and competing in the First Lego League (FLL) competition. With the team of five supported by our teacher, Ms Law, we were awarded Merit, gaining a lot of experience in the process!
In preparation for the FLL competition, we worked endlessly during our CCA on Thursdays, tackling the theme of the competition – hydrodynamics. At the beginning of the school year, many students just joined the Robotics Club, but they did not really understand how the competition worked. Despite all these challenges, we managed to bring the team together and grew to become stronger shortly after.
Our robot was quite compact in size but also very efficient. We designed it with two servomotors, which moved the robot in all directions and a small back wheel to support the robot. As we created the robot carefully, we made sure attachments like claws and droppers could be easily attached and removed from the robot easily. We had two positions that could hold these attachments, positioned at both the front and rear of the robot. We were able to test it on our large training mat used to train for different missions, such as pushing blocks, dropping Lego bricks, and many more. Firstly, our task was to make a robot by using the EV3 Lego Mindstorms robot and other Lego technic pieces. After that, we programmed the robot by using the Lego Mindstorms software so it could move with precision to complete those missions.
On the day of the competition, we all met at Hong Kong Design Institute (HKDI) and we went to the testing field to fine-tune our programmed robot. We wasted no time. As we lined up to test the robot on the practice mats, we rehearsed for our oral presentation. Every mission would reward us with different amounts of points upon completion so we tried to complete as many missions as we could.
There were three sections of the competition. The main section was the practical part where we ran our robot and earned points by completing the missions. We had 2.5 minutes to run the program and let the robot move around the mat to complete missions. When the time was up, the judge gave us a summary of the points we got. We had three trials and we got around 100 points in the 3rd trial, which was our best attempt.
The second section was to make a poster based on the theme, “Hydrodynamics”. Another group of students from the Science Club made the poster. Our team had to make an invention which was related to improving how we use and transport water. We designed a water filter which was targeted for use in Cambodia, as it is made out of their abundance of coconut husks could be used to solve their water problem. Our multi-layered water filter features removable filter shelfs. Each layer contains easy to refill materials which will remove different impurities from the stagnant water. The water is stored in a tank at the bottom which flows out into a tap. The filter is efficient, affordable and most importantly compact, which makes it the ideal choice for the people of Cambodia.
The final section was to have a presentation about our robot and our poster to the judges. We explained all the different parts of the robot and how they improved the efficiency of the robot. We received good ideas and suggestions in the form of feedback, which we will definitely consider for next year’s robot.
Overall, we did well in the robot trial and our presentation. The poster was well received as well, which made the experience all the more worthwhile. The entire Robotics Club and Science Club were very proud as we all worked really hard, and all our efforts paid off. Following our competition, we spent time reflecting on all the problems that we faced in the CCA as well as the competition so we can strive to do even better next year!