UNILAG Holds First Ever Robotics Competition, But Many Robots Struggled to Perform

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The University of Lagos (UNILAG) held its first ever robotics competition yesterday themed, Maze Quest.

The University of Lagos (UNILAG) held its first ever robotics competition yesterday themed, Maze Quest.

Open to teams of developers, the competition allowed students of the institution showcase their robotics design and development skills. But unlike many robotics competitions, the UNILAG Robotics Competition was designed as maze. Participants were expected to develop autonomous robots that could find their way out of the maze.

Looking closely, about 5 teams took part in the competition. And they each came with their own variants of traditionally looking robots. By traditional, I mean the ones which you can see much of its parts and exposed wires. Endoskeletons sort of.

The teams had to explain how their robots would move through the maze. Each team then had less than 60 seconds to get their robots from the starting point all the way to the end.

It was quite an interesting event.

Although the robots were supposed to be autonomous, the reality was far from it. Many of the robots just couldn’t work without a shove from time to time. If they hit an obstacle, the developers just had to manually turn them to the right direction. Looking through some of the videos from the event, we could hear some persons explaining that the success of the robots depend on the algorithm in use.

https://twitter.com/salaubayo/status/1072797252173864960

Fortunately for the contestants and to the relief of everyone else, the judges allowed these manual interference.

Despite the interference, several teams couldn’t successfully get their robots through to the finish line. At least two teams didn’t get their robots far from the starting point before their 60 seconds elapsed.

At the end when the judges had concluded their scoring, three teams emerged on top. Team Overrides, Team Joda and Team Autodroid finished first, second and third respectfully.

Winner of the day, Team Overrides, walked away with a N50,000 prize money. That’s not a lot of cash by any measure, but it is a start for the school’s young innovators. And it offers them a chance to put their technology in the spotlight!

For now there is no statement about whether a second edition would be held but we’re hoping it does. This first event drew an enthusiastic crowd, even though the population was not much.


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