Robocon is an International level event. Students from various engineering college of 16 countries participate in this event to become International Level Robotics Champion. The National winner of each country represent their country at international level. This year Robocon was named as "Robominton" since the theme of the event was Badminton. The National level Robocon in India was scheduled on 5,6,7th of March 2015 at Chatrapati Shivaji Stadium, Balewadi. We reported the event site on 2nd of March 2015.
5th March 2015
After days and days of preparation, here it was. Robocon 2015 had begun. Nervousness, excitement, anxiety. Everyone had mixed feelings. To enjoy the event was never an option. Opening ceremony, cultural performances didn't matter at all, we skipped everything and concentrated on the goal. We were there to win it and prepared to do anything for it. It was a difficult task, since 85 teams from all over India were there with the same determination to achieve the same goal.
Matches were drawn the day before. To qualify for the next round, a team had to win two matches in their respective group; in our group, we had Vadodra COE and S.S.COE, Mumbai. Our first match was at 12:30 PM against S.S.COE. Both the teams were unknown to us, but some members of our team observed their strategies and reported that they were no less. And so the scramble began. Every team member played his/her part well. The robots were checked and rechecked for performance, all electronic systems were verified, the weight of the bot was taken down and brought within range, operators were given match practice according to opponent strategy, mechanical maintenance was carried out and the robots were made match-ready.
The moment had arrived. Year-long efforts were going to be tested in a span of less than 3 minutes. The match begun. We delivered every service to perfection and scored all those points. There were instances where we failed to reply their serve, but that didn't slow us down. It was over quickly and we emerged victorious 5-2 was the final score. Everyone was happy, robots were just as we took them to the match, which proved that the design was sturdy and could endure anything. We didn't celebrate much, because the journey was still incomplete, we had a long way to go. Everyone remained grounded and modest. We truly believed we could win it. With all this in our minds, we started to work on the strategy for the next match, scheduled 10:30 am on DAY 2.
6th March 2015
Day 2 is the most crucial day in the competition. It is said that if a team survives day 2, it is bound to do well altogether. It is the day where the robots and teams are tested to their limits. To qualify, we needed to win the next match against Vadodra COE. This particular team was not an ambitious one. They were rookies, but that didn't make us feel superior. We never underestimated our opponents, because we ourselves were the underdogs yesteryear. Going through the same maintenance protocol, we went in for the match. Going through the same situation as in the previous one, we won the match 5-2. We were through to the next round! Quite the same scenario as last year, cruising to round 2. We were ranked 6 all over India, and were among the top 26 teams of the lot. Matches were drawn for the further rounds and new 2 teams were placed under us: Annasaheb COE, Navi Mumbai and K.I.E.T., Ghaziabad.
Quickly after the 10:30 am match, we were to go against Annasaheb COE at 12:45 pm. There was so less time for preparing, leave alone celebration. The team had never qualified to the next round and we were determined to do so and knew that we could. By this time maintenance was a habit and the bot was ready in no time. Only problem was that the opponent strategy was unknown and we were going in blind. The opponent was amateur though, we found out. The match began. This time, luck wasn't with us and our services were a failure. That added extra pressure on the operators. They tried their best to counter it, but fate had different plans. We lost the game 5-2. Total silence in the pit area. We couldn't cope with the loss, and thought it was all over. But sometime later we learnt that K.I.E.T. had beaten Annasaheb COE 5-2 as well. If we could beat K.I.E.T.college by 5-0 or 5-1, we could advance to the next round. There was hope after all. It was the seniors who refused to give up and lifted the team confidence. The next match was at 3:20 pm. No time for practice.
Nervousness was the only feeling left with the team. The entire journey depended on this match. We hoped for the best and went for it. The opponent team looked tough, but we weren't intimidated. The deciding moment arrived, match had begun. Both teams started with perfect services and gathered those precious points. But one of our serves was returned by them and that changed the situation. We crumbled under pressure and eventually lost the game 5-3. That was it. All the hardwork vanished in 3 minutes.
But that wasn't the end after all. We knew our robots' level was really very high compared to all the robots made previous years. Last year we had long list of improvements to be done in the robots but this year there are just few. We have overcome the main event losing cause of all the previous years i.e. failure of robots. Yes, our robots were sound. They didn't failed mechanically or electronically.
7th March 2015
Final match was between Nirma University and K.I.E.T., Ghaziabad. Nirma University won the match by 5-3.
We packed up our stuff and came back to college. It felt nice when people asked us about our robots and appreciated our design. Even the national winner of Vietnam shared our robots photos on Facebook and appreciated our robots. Referring to our robots, one of their team member commented that "India is always being a pioneer to us."
It is said that 'Success is not a destination, it's a journey'. We didn't failed this time, we just move one more step closer to achieve Success.
The next year theme will be released on 23rd August 2015 and the International Robocon will be hosted by Thailand.
Prof.Mrs. V.P. Kodgirwar (ENTC)
Shilpaj Bhalerao (T.E. Mechanical)