The Engineering team of The Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK)’s Faculty of Engineering has claimed victory at the Robocon Hong Kong Contest for the second year in a row. The team will attempt to win glory representing Hong Kong at the Asia-Pacific Robocon Contest, after its success in the competition in 2019.
Held on 26 June at the Hong Kong Science Park, the 2022 Hong Kong competition featured 14 student teams from eight higher educational institutions. CUHK’s team Golden Striker clinched the Championship and Best Team Spirit Award, while another CUHK team Power Builder finished in fourth place.
The theme of this year's contest, Lagori, was inspired by a traditional game widely played in South India. Each team is required to design two robots that compete with the opposing team. One robot aims to knock over a Lagori Tower made of Lagori Discs (coloured sponge blocks) by throwing soft balls at them, while the other robot tries to rebuild the tower after it has collapsed. The defensive robots (the opponent) can throw balls at the attacking side to interrupt them. The final score is calculated based on the number of Lagori Discs knocked down and piled up within 90 seconds, with the team with the highest score winning.
Golden Striker’s road to success was far from easy. In 10 internal practice matches, the team was defeated nine times. “At that time, it was only a week before the contest. We could have been fighting a losing battle,” says Billy Yip, team coach of CUHK robotics team.
Repeated failures drove the team to go to great lengths. After evaluating the matches and learning from their mistakes, team members racked their brains to think of ground-breaking ideas. “We came up with a creative approach to keeping the robots away from the effective range at which the opponents’ robot could interrupt our attack. It was a reliable strategy and the key to victory,” says team leader Kwok Lam Him. “I am thankful for the hard work of my diligent teammates. All this would not have been possible without skilled techniques, talented minds and, most importantly, team spirit.”
Billy also highlighted that the team had invented and applied advanced robotics technologies. “We adopted a brand new 360-degree rotation wheel system for the robots, offering higher maneuverability and movement speed. It is the product of two years of independent research, refinement and repeated testing by current and former teammates. They also invented an AI ball detection system to track movement of balls by the opponent.”
As in previous years, the members of the CUHK robotics team come from a variety of academic backgrounds, including four medical students and a physics student. The interdisciplinary exchange of ideas, substantial experience in this robotics competition (four championships within the past seven years: in 2016, 2019, 2021 and 2022) and advice from Engineering professors, all helped to improve the CUHK robotics team’s performance.
The Robocon Hong Kong Contest is an annual flagship event organised by the Hong Kong Science and Technology Parks Corporation, which aims to nurture local talents and take the city’s innovative technologies to the international stage. Golden Striker will go on to represent Hong Kong at The Asia-Pacific Broadcasting Union (ABU) Asia-Pacific Robot Contest, to be hosted in New Delhi and held online this August.