Robotix Club Wins First Place in World Robot Olympiad
Robotix club members built a robot to tackle one of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, scoring first place in the local round of the World Robot Olympiad (WRO). Engy Raafat, computer engineering major, and Mariam Hegazy, mechanical engineering major, formed a team along with two students from a STEM school in Ismailia to represent the Robotix club, making this the first time an AUC team has entered the WRO.
“Joining a competition like this helps increase AUC’s exposure in the community and increase awareness of technology among younger students,” said Muhammad Azzazy, electronics and communications engineering senior and WRO project manager. “The judges give a score based on the participants’ understanding of how the robot will contribute to society.”
The theme for this year’s open category of the WRO was sustainability. The Robotix team chose to look more specifically at the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, concentrating on goal 15, Life on Land. “When farmers prepare to grow a new crop, they need to test the soil to make sure the chemicals they are using contain sufficient nutrients to grow the crop,” explained Azzazy. “This manual process is expensive and time consuming.”
The team developed a robot that can solve this issue by performing an automated test, collecting soil samples and producing results on the amount of nutrients necessary to grow a particular crop. They spent a month focusing on the research behind the robot, as research determines a large part of the score. Then. they prepared the designs and software, testing mechanisms for the robot, which they named the AgriMonitor. The team received helpful guidance from their coach, Aly Magdy, research assistant in the Department of Chemistry.
The competition has an age restriction of 19, which encouraged the club to seek more interest in its activities on campus through recruitment of younger students. “The competition aims at teaching young individuals about robots and how they can be integrated into our society,” Azzazy explained.
The club has only recently begun to enter into global competitions such as this one, and its members view these challenges as active learning experiences. “This is the second international competition we joined after the Remotely Operated Vehicle competition, and we're planning to join more,” said Lena Abdulhafez, president of the Robotix club and mechanical engineering major. Through these competitions, members can implement the theory they learn in class and experience real-life applications of their robots.”
The last week before the competition, the Robotix team concentrated on actually manufacturing the robot, with the help of AUC’s FabLab, an engineering laboratory equipped with tools and machines for digital fabrication. “The FabLab has been a great tool for us,” said Azzazy. “We’ve used a lot of their tools, like the laser cutter and the 3D printer.”
This competition is an example of the club’s numerous efforts to engage more, both on campus and in the external community. “The Robotix Club has been expanding its activities over the past year, participating in international competitions and strengthening its presence at AUC, in Egypt and abroad,” said Abdulhafez. “This exposure can add valuable contacts to our network, enhance our members’ technical and practical backgrounds, and open opportunities in different fields. Within the AUC community, we're also trying to break down misconceptions about robots and show how fun and easy it is to build simple robots.”