Saturday, April 5, 2008

So Close, Yet So Far

I almost did the impossible.
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It was something like having our Bolehland in the final of the football World Cup, which we all know that it will take an enormous effort for us to qualify for the finals, yet alone mounting a serious challenge for the coveted trophy. However, I almost transformed that onto my robot, although I failed in the final hurdle. Remember there was a time when I blogged about the robots we made for one of the subjects I am currently taking? Halfway through the process when the robots were relatively able to mobilise around, there was a battle held among the robots, in which I would honestly admit that my robot ended up not like what I would like it to be. Then, my half-impaired robot failed miserably, crashing out in the first round.
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That uncle wearing a mask is not a doctor, but my lecturer who caught flu that day.
Fortunately for me, there was another battle being carried out before the semester of this schooling year ended last January. It gave me the chance to claim what I have missed out in the previous battle. Despite so, not everything went by our way. Our team was drawn to face the runners-up of the first battle several months ago. That was the last thing that we would have like to be presented upon. We could not do anything but to hope for the best.
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Our team is N-7, just in case you don't read Japanese.
One of the vital part that my tutor and I paid attention to this time was to make sure that our robot has a leg that could move as smooth as possible. That was the utmost important aspect of the robot structure. To top it off, we came out with an arm in front of it, which we called it the "Magic hand".
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Does this machine look convincing enough?
Too add to that arm, one of my classmates took an unused antenna from somewhere and "decorated" our robot with that antenna. Although it didn't serve any purpose, we just left it there as it could act as a distraction to our opponents. We later told each of our opponents that the antenna could shoot out laser beams which will turn their robot upside-down. We were astonished that some of them really took our words seriously.
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Here are some of the robots of my classmates which were competing that day.
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My roommate-cum-coursemate, Yan Kuang and his tutor made this.
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This one looked like a machine to lift goods at the warehouse.
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An over-sized robot.
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This is one of my favourite in terms of design and ability. It was just unlucky to crash out due to some technical errors.
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One of the team members told me the three round steel was to make their robot heavier.
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I have no idea what to comment as for this one.
We were the last pair to have our first battle in the first round. Before the battle began, we heard some rumours that the robot of our opponents has some difficulties to move its legs. That one fact left us thinking that we would have a slight chance of getting through to the next round after all.

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Then, came the moment of truth. We did it. We advanced to the next round, although it was a carbon copy of an Italian job on our opponent. It was not the nicest win, but the important thing is that we had improved from the battle we had before this, where we went out in the very first round then. Slowly but surely, we advanced through rounds after rounds and we were beginning to have that believe in ourselves that we could do the impossible.
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One of the battle our robot had before we got all the way to the final.
The next thing we knew was, our robot made it into the final.

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Reached the final?! Cannot believe lah!
It was a surprised to both of us as well as the rest of my classmates, as the two of us didn't harbour any high hopes on our robot at all earlier on. Our initial aim was to only advance to the second round. That's all. But to get ourselves into the final battle certainly didn't come into our wildest imagination at all. I shall say the lady luck was smiling to us, as the original battle was scheduled a week earlier but due to the fact that many teams couldn't meet the dateline, it was postponed to another week. One week before the battle we had, our robot could hardly move and we knew that we wouldn't be advancing even from the first battle.
Just before the final started, the crowd suggested that the final battle to be carried on after a short break to give time to both teams to make some final amendments and adjustments to the robots.
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Some teams utilised the time-out to practise and have fun with their robots.
However, my tutor and I decided that we will just leave our robot to take a rest and we didn't make any significant touches on our robot. I took the time-out to walk to the other corner of the lab to watch another battle unfolding. Besides the battle of robots that day, the other half of the students was participating in the steam locomotive race.
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The mechanism is actually quite simple. They use alcohol lit burners or candles to heat up the can filled with water which boils after some time. The boiling water later releases steams which in turn move the wheel of the locomotive model. Many teams failed to produce steam locomotive that is able to move because apparently, it was quite a tricky task to construct the engine part. That is why this steam locomotive thing didn't gain as much attention as the battle robots got.
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After the short time-out, came the final battle. We as the underdogs were pipped against the winners of the first battle several months ago and it was in every one's mind that our opponents are the clear favourites. I could understand that feeling very well.
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Not the final battle, but it was one of the battle our opponent had earlier on.
Fair enough, we were defeated. Quite comprehensively, I should say.
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Nonetheless, one thing I could take heart from this battle is that, at least we have gone against all odds and lost to a much superior opponent.
P/S: I didn't upload any videos of the battles we had this time because all the files are just too big for my snail internet connection.


Anonymous said...

I read less than 5 words of this article..

impressed to see this..
I might not have chance to actually make a robot like this..

calvin said...

@ ns29:
i guess this entry is a little bit too long for anyone's liking. but at least you read five words =)
i think all of us made a great job, as we started from scratch and eventually came out with such robots.

Anonymous said...

hey Calvin,
the snaps are superbs man!!!
Hats off!!

very soon i am joining to NUT.
hope to see you there.
stay in touch!!!

your great Fan


calvin said...

@ anonymous:
thanks and i appreciate your compliments :)
but you are a fan of mine? o.O