Canton Team Wins at Robofest World Championship
Canton team wins in robotics competition with 502 teams and 1,630 students from four countries.
— Submitted by Eric Pope of Lawrence Technological University
The WASPS robotics team of Canton won the Junior Exhibition division at the 13th annual Robofest World Championship held at Lawrence Technological University on May 19.
This year 1,630 students on 502 teams from nine states and four other countries participated in the annual Robofest competition founded in 2000 by CJ Chung, professor of computer science at Lawrence Tech.
Robofest is an international competition of autonomous robots – computer-programmed to act independently and not radio-controlled – that encourages students to have fun while learning principles of science, technology, engineering, and math. Students design, construct and program the robots, and adult coaches are not allowed to assist during the events. Teams compete in the junior division (grades 5-9) or senior division (grades 9-12), using a variety of computer programming languages.
Coach Satheesh Makkapati described his team’s demonstration project:
“With the growing energy needs of humans in the 21st century, it is absolutely critical that we understand energy transformations and the associated efficiencies. To promote this understanding, Team WASPS (Achieve Charter Academy in Canton) created a robot teacher, MR.CHEN – a mnemonic for the different forms of energy, mechanical, radiant, chemical, heat, electric, and nuclear – using several LEGO NXT & Arduino micro controllers.
“The demonstration begins with the radiant energy from a set of light bulbs being captured by a solar panel and getting converted to electrical energy. A thermometer picks up the heat generated by the light bulbs to illustrate the fact that a lot of the radiant energy has in fact been converted to heat energy. A charger takes the electricity generated by the solar panel and stores it in a battery as chemical energy. A water pump then draws the chemical energy from the battery and pushes up some water into an elevated bucket, thus creating mechanical potential energy. The stored water then rushes down to turn an impeller, which in turn spins a generator creating electrical energy. As a last step, the electrical energy thus created lights up an LED to create radiant energy.
“While showing off these energy transformations, MR.CHEN discusses the associated conversion efficiencies, thus bringing home all the energy concepts.”