13th World Robot Olympiad

The thirteenth edition of the WRO- “Rap the Scrap”, was held in New Delhi, recently in consonance with PM  Narendra Modi’s Swacch Bharat Abhiyaan. The World Robot Olympiad comprises various categories- the Regular, Open, Football and Advanced categories.

‘High Voltage’, a robotics team from RoboGenius Academy in Gurgaon, comprising  Prakhar Mittal and Jainil Ajmera of Delhi Public School, Gurgaon and Abhimanyu Dev Singh of Pathways World School, Gurgaon, stood second in the Regular Junior High category.

.Over 2000 students from 51 countries showcased  innovative solutions using robotics technology to reduce, manage and recycle waste. The competition was held for students in the 9-25 years age group in the following four categories – Regular category (Elementary, Junior High, Senior High), WRO Football, Open category and Advanced Robotics Challenge.

The Regular category is the largest category in WRO, with over 1000 teams from 50+ countries. Teams of 2-3 participants have to solve a challenging game played on a theme of “Rap the Scrap“ playfield , within 2 minutes of time. There are a lot of constraints involved, as the size of robot cannot exceed by 25cm x 25cm x 25 cm as well as the type of parts to be used, as robots can only be built out of LEGO elements. Solving a regular category challenge requires understanding of programming, logical reasoning and various concepts of science and math to ensure a perfect balance of design complexity, speed and accuracy.

The challenge for this year was ‘Waste Sorting’ which required teams to autonomously identify and locate different types of wastes available for recycling and sorting (denoted by blocks of different sizes and colours), pick the recyclable wastes using an algorithm and deposit them in corresponding sorting bins, also differentiated on the basis of colour and location, to score points. The teams were also expected to solve an additional surprise rule, which was announced only when the competition time began.

United by their passion for robotics, the students’ journey began five months back when the challenge was announced. Since then, the team has dedicated dozens of hours, aiming to complete the challenge as quickly as possible. With this in mind, the students developed several different strategies to maximize the efficiency and accuracy of their robot. In the process, various solutions were conceived and tested. Their journey began from the Delhi-NCR Regionals, in which the team secured the first position in their category. This was followed by a period of two months, in which the students considered various innovative ideas, before choosing one and refining it. The team was also able to secure the second position at the National Championship, which was held in Kolkata in the month of October, before being selected to represent India in the international event. During the course of their journey, the students had to manage their time between school and robotics. As a result, their routine became strictly regimented and they developed important life skills such as time management.

World Robot Olympiad India (WRO) is a non-profit robotics competition held in India since 2006 for students in the 9 to 25 years age group. WRO India is a highly competitive, prestigious and one of the largest robotics competitions in India, jointly organized by India STEM Foundation ( ISF) and National Council of Science Museums (NCSM) to build scientific temperament and 21st century skills in students.

The event for science, technology, and education  brings together young people from across the world to develop their creativity and problem- solving skills through challenging and educational Robotics competition.

The event was inaugurated by Dr Mahesh Sharma, (Minister of Culture) . Encouraging the teams from across the world, Dr Mahesh Sharma said, “Fostering innovation and creativity amongst youth is a key priority for the government and events like these are a great platform for  National Council of Science Museums”  

Law King Hui, Chairman, WRO Advisory Council said, “The WRO holds a dear place in our hearts because it provides a platform for thousands of brilliant and aspiring young minds to come together and inspire one another in their attempts to address real-world issues. Applying STEM knowledge in forming concrete solutions, all the while thinking creatively and critically, with the ability to communicate and collaborate with others is the essence of WRO.”