On 11 July, thirteen teams of two students from primary and secondary education demonstrated the skills of their LEGO MINDSTORMS robots by performing a practical assignment for the jury and the audience at the Spot in Orion. The organisers hope that this challenge will stimulate interest in agricultural robotics from technologically inclined young people.
Each team had two hours to construct a completed robot and program it to perform the proposed assignment. The competition course was tested and a trial run was conducted. After that, it all came down to the battle in the “arena”: would the robots be able to complete the task without error in 4 minutes?
The assignment (pdf), devised by the Agrotechnology study association, Heren XVII, consisted of detecting and collecting a yellow Lego block (maize) and a green Lego block (grass), taking them to a feed mixing wagon, dropping the “food” inside, and driving back to the beginning of the competition course. Points could be earned for each section. The jury gave additional points for how cleverly the robot was constructed and for the industrial design itself. In the end, the Robotic Boyz team of Marco van Wijk and Arian van der Staaij earned the most points with their robot.
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“Even though the assignment was the same for each team, they all approached it differently, so there were 13 teams and 13 solutions. Some of the robots drove to the end of the course along the mixing wagon and then back to their starting point; others took the exact same way back”, said a satisfied Gerrit Polder, co-organiser of this challenge. He estimates that, during the competition, roughly 50 people (friends, families, and other interested parties) were watching, but even during the construction of the robots, there was a great deal of interest from researchers and conference attendees. In total, an audience of about 100 people.
See also the article: Kinderen bouwen landbouwrobots met Lego tijdens WUR-congres (Children build agricultural robots with Legos during WUR conference) on the Resource website.