A small robot explored the surface of our dining hall today. While the two-wheeler rolled around, we had a chat with the team of students that designed and constructed it for the purposes of the national Eurobot competition.
The constructors, Stefan, Gavrilo, Damjan and another Stefan (along with Lazar, Milos, Vlada and Rade who couldn’t make it to our meeting) are members of Petnica’s applied physics and electronics lab. Since we made a commitment to support the lab, we supplied the team with important components and compiler licenses. Among others, their Eurobot competition robot has two proximity clicks and two STM MINI boards inside of it, and the software that governs it was written mostly in mikroC.
Gavrilo from the team explains how the robot competition works:
“The robots must be completely autonomous, no remote controls allowed. Two robots at a time face off each other in a match. The two robots run through a course performing a set of tasks for points: moving around objects from point A to point B, picking mock fruits while avoiding poisonous ones based on colors, and so on. Many participating robots duel each other in this way, and at the end of the tournament the winning robot is determined by the total sum of accumulated points from all the matches.”
Competitions like these drive innovation and help bring about a new generation of engineers who will make tomorrows’ robots smarter. Eventually, Gavrilo, Damjan, Stefan and Stefan will move on from constructing small competition robots to making their bigger cousins that assemble cars or explore Mars.
For starters though, the team hopes to win first place at next years’ national Eurobot, so they could qualify for the final international tournament in Europe (This years’ competition was their Eurobot debut). So what did they learn from this years’ experience that will help them improve for 2015?
Stefan said that after many sleepless nights spent preparing for the competition, they learned much and they’re a better team now. Their biggest challenge was to successfully combine all the different functionalities into a single robot that functions smoothly. Because every team member has his own field of expertize, it’s hard to bring all these divergent skills together to focus them on a single goal. But at the end, they all benefit from it.
We agree with that. Diversity breeds innovation. That’s why MikroElektronika supports so many architectures and programming languages, gathering a variety of developers with different approaches and outlooks on Libstock.