On 18 April 2015, four representatives from the MGCI Robotics team competed in the Toronto Regional Competition of Educational Robotics at the Toronto Ouest High School. MGCI Robotics President Saiyam Patel and team members John Le, James Robins, and Akef Ahmed attended the competition, where they won four medals, the maximum number a team could win.
The MGCI Robotics Club, which has about 15 members, found out about the competition two weeks prior to the event. They built and programmed three robots from scratch for each of the three challenges. Due to the tight time constraint, in addition to working on the robots at school, some members brought the robots home in order to finish building them.
The three challenges that the team built robots for were the New Horizons, Dangerous Satellite, and Space Walk challenges. The team won first place for their New Horizons robot, which was suspended by a string and rotated to locate and identify surrounding objects. As the most difficult robot to program and design, it simulated NASA’s New Horizons space probe which was sent to study the outer limits of the solar system.
The Dangerous Satellite challenge was of medium difficulty. It required students to build robots that could protect themselves from a “defective satellite”, another robot, by forcing them into another orbit to avoid collisions. This sumo-bot challenge had robots try to force their opponents out of the playing field without going off themselves. MGCI placed second in this challenge.
MGCI came in third place in the Space Walk challenge, which was the easiest of the three. The robot was built and programmed to move back and forth along a rail. It had to detect different objects along the rail, and then remove them and dispose of them by placing them in a specially marked area. This challenge simulated the removal of debris lodged in the space station in order to be able to repair damage.
The fourth medal that the team won was a special honour award for building robots for all three challenges in only two weeks. Though MGCI’s team did well, the Toronto regional competition was not connected to the national competition. As a result, MGCI will not be moving past the regional competition.
Club president Saiyam Patel described the competition as “very upbeat and competitive” because of challenges such as the “robot sumo battle which really set the mood, pushing you to do your best.”
At the competition, MGCI was one of the only teams to use outdated equipment, making challenges more difficult for the members. The club has recently purchased the most up-to-date robotics equipment, worth over one thousand dollars, using money from sponsorships obtained for the competition. The club members will now be learning how to use this new equipment in preparation for their next competition, the UOIT Robotics Competition, which will take place in the next school year.