Walking into the control lab located on the third floor, as the round moon shined brightly. I shifted my gaze to the inside of the control lab. It was horror, utterly opposite to what the moon resembled. It was chaotic. The tables in the lab were a mess, filled with electronics, wires, hammers, wooden boards, screws and bolts. Walking into the room, pale faces, tired red eyes, and the messy hair of zombies greeted me. But wait, it is not like what you might be imagining, USMC is definitely not haunted but the one thing that haunts us 2nd year mechanical students most is the Eurobot Project.

The aesthetic Sailor Swift

The Eurobot Project is a 2nd year group project whereby students are required to manufacture, assemble and program an autonomous robot that is capable of doing certain tasks. The project was conducted in a competition-like manner whereby students were given a time span of one semester to produce their own robot. Unlike previous years, the rules have changed. Instead of having 2 robots, we were only allowed 1. However, we were allocated more time during the competition.

I shall save the process of manufacturing and coding for the juniors to have their own hands-on experience and instead, I will fast-forward to the night before the competition.

Team Surf’s Up troubleshooting
Bot Not Hot being rescued

My group, named Aloha, did not have a functioning robot the night before the competition. The night was rough, as the room was filled with despair, weariness and the burnt smell of electrical components or the soldering machine. Every group had their own problems. For us, the main problem was that our robot’s wiring connections were utterly bad.

Note to juniors, double check, triple check and if possible, hold on to a multimeter and check all of your robot’s connection. Likewise, on a very serious note, never ever connect your 5V to Gnd pin, even by accident.

Our group’s messy wiring

As everyone pushed through the night, all teams managed to salvage their robot.

Everyone focused on the match

I can proudly say that I am proud of my group. Apart from obtaining advance knowledge with regards to Arduino programming language. I learnt that teamwork matters more, especially when going through a hard sailing sea. Many thanks to Teyo, Kai Yun, Jun Ying and Jackie as we pulled through endless nights without sleep. We managed to emerge as a semi-finalist! Considering we did not have a functioning robot the night before, I can say that I am contented.

Additionally, I would like to thank Ivan, as he helped us tremendously throughout the project. Thank you for the 2 hour crash course regarding the Master-Slave code via I2C synchronous serial protocol. Anyway, here are a few group photos to commemorate the event!

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That marks our final project in USMC. Now, students are in the battle zone, bracing themselves for what they’ve prepared for the whole year – EXAMS ARE COMING UP!

 

Photo courtesy of Lai Chung Kwan

Battle of the bots

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