Winners of 2017 International Robot Contest
Curiosity resulting as a milestone
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Held annually in the Korea International Exhibition and Convention Center (KINTEX), the International Robot Contest (IRC) is the largest robotic event in Korea. In October of 2017, IRC once again welcomed contestants from various countries such as Japan, Singapore, and Malaysia. Of several categories of the contest, the gold prize winner of the TurtleBot Auto Race area is the team Real Bapdodook (rice thief), consisting of four students from the Department of Robotics: Jung Hyun-cheol (3rd year), Lee Do-gyu (2nd year), Cho Min-soo (3rd year) and Jung Min-jae (3rd year).
Intense concentration as when eating
“The Department of Robotics was established in 2013, and we are the first group of students to be admitted into the department. The contest let four of us to come together.” TurtleBot is a robot with open-source software, which is the main item used for the event. All four students were highly interested in it, which became a main motive for them to team up together. The name of the team seems quite unique to be a robotic contest entry. Rice thief, Bapdodook in Korean, is a term referring to food so delicious that it arouses an appetite to the point where one finishes a bowl of rice instantly.
The members decided to name their team Real Bapdodook because when people are eating “rice thieves,” they concentrate on eating so much that they become silent. Similarly, the team wanted to focus their TurtleBot to the extent where they become wordless. Fittingly, the name of their robot is Ganjang-gaejang (soy sauce marinated crab), because the finished look of their work resembles the shape of a crab—soy sauce marinated crab is one type of Korean food considered to be a bapdodook.
“We decided to participate in the contest because even though it had been three years since we entered the department, we had not really had any opportunity to actually make robots or create an algorithm that goes along with it. With the desire to utilize what we have learned, we searched for robotic contests and came across the IRC TurtleBot Auto Race." Besides, they wanted to put robot operating system (ROS) into use and get a real-life lesson from experience.
The gold mine of efforts
“By the time we finished preparing for the contest, we wished to have some extra days of breaks, but the new semester greeted us.” Preparing for the contest throughout their entire summer break, there were largely three impasses the team had to jump over. First and the most difficult barrier was studying ROS (coding system of communication among sensors of the robot). Since TurtleBot was an ROS-based device, not knowing it will make it impossible to start the project. The team had no helping hand to tutor them with the equipment, so they started from scratch by studying with online materials.
Another barrier was assembling different parts. No matter how supreme a single part is, it is of no use if it does not fit into the robot. From finding out how an equipment works to figuring out how to harmonize the whole system, there were piles of problems to solve. Lastly, “tuning” the robot to the course of the contest field was a big issue. In order to make the robot run perfectly on its own, this step was essential. This step took the longest because there was simply no other way than to test with trial and error.
“Hard work pays off” is what the team said after going through long, exhausting periods of preparation and finally tasting victory. Ganjang-gaejang was outstanding in its speed and stability, but it was especially praised for staying close to the basic, provided materials. While other teams dismantled the TurtleBot and added additional parts that costed much, Real Bapdodook focused on maximizing the efficiency with what was given, proving that winning requires no fancy accessories. The contest offered no cash prize but an upgrade of the TurtleBot, which the team is willing to use for the department’s ROS education.
Ganjang-gaejang was excellent in line-tracing as well, which was a crucial factor in making it the winner. From discerning lights, signs, and barricade to safely passing tunnels, the team’s robot successfully completed the given missions. Finishing the track with impressive line-tracing at a speed faster than other teams, the team Real Bapdodook proved its competency.
Jeon Chae-yun firstname.lastname@example.org
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