The WRO's participants are split into three age groups, and compete in four categories. The Regular category is about building a robot to solve particular tasks (like sorting objects by some characteristics or moving along a particular route); in this category, there are strict requirements to the robot's external dimensions and components. Another two are related to sports: the traditional WRO football with robots, and this year's Advanced Robotics task — robot bowling. The only limitation for the forth category — "Open" - is the topic to work on. This year, it was "Rap the Scrap" - using robotics to reduce, manage and recycle waste.
Igor Lositsky. Credit: social networks
"When we start working on a project, we all share our thoughts, and thus a small idea becomes really detailed, we think up new functions and options. The "Open" category at the WRO is the most unpredictable one; there are no precise tasks in it. Yet, we are a creative group, so participating in another category would have been just boring — both for me and my students", comments Igor Lisitsky, trainer of ITMO's teams for schoolers and a staff member for the Department of Control Systems and Informatics.
Team Arctic Cleaner Credit: social networks
Teams from ITMO University presented two projects. The first one — the Arctic Cleaner — was created by GlebZagarski, Daniil Pavlov and Daniil Martinov. Using quad-copter mounted cameras, their system finds barrels with waste left by polar explorers and sends a robot to pick them up and carry to a conveyor, where they are pressed and moved to storage. This project placed 4th in the Junior High age group.
The second project was a robotic hand designed by LevonPogosov, Alexander Tulpanov and Daniil Nechaev — using the Leap Motion 3D sensor, it copies the movements of a human operator so as to replace him when working with hazardous materials. The sequence can be saved, so that the mechanic arm can do it independently. This project was also a success and got 2nd in the Senior High group.
Team Nuclear Waste Taker. Credit: social networks
All in all, four teams represented Russia in the "Open" Category of the WRO: apart from two from ITMO, there were the team from Saint Petersburg Presidential Physics and Mathematics Lyceum № 239 with the Ocean Waste Collector project and the Rustechno team from Moscow's School № 354. These teamspassed a series of preliminaries in Russia and were chosen by the expert committee.
One of the three Russians who are part of the jury for the international round is AlexandrKapitonov, a Research Student for ITMO's Department of Control Systems and Informatics. According to him, assessing the projects was no easy task:
"Few of the projects use some really innovative approach. Still, I believe that it's not that important in a children's contest. The educational aspect is what's important in the WRO".