It was the first of its kind. For that ocassion, participants only came from the institution. The maiden Robotics Competition organised by the Computer Science Departments of the University of Lagos (UNILAG) was an opener of sorts. It was held at Jelili Omotola Hall.
The competition’s coordinator, Dr Chika Yinka-Banjo, said it generated wide interest, adding that the university got more than the entrants it wanted.
“For this competition, we wanted 10 teams, 21 applied. It was massive.You can see that the passion is so much. We had to screen; we had to review their design, checked before we could select the participants. A lot wanted to participate but because of funding we could not take them all – because UNILAG had to get sponsors to buy these equipment for them, to buy the equipment they coupled. We eventually got a sponsor that financed the cash prizes,” she said.
The teams drawn from engineering, computer science, physics and economics departments to take on the Maze challenge – which required them to move their car robots – which they built from scratch – through a maze set at the venue, within five minutes. The maze was coded in green, red, black and blue in some areas to serve as direction for the autonomous cars to follow.
Wherever there was black, it meant there was no way; wherever there was red, the cars were to stop; yellow, they were to turn around and find another way; and wherever they saw blue, it meant the robot had made it to the end of the maze.
A panel of four assessors, Prof Ayo Oyediran, Dr Fashina Ebun, Prof Abiodun Musa-Aibinu and Dr Sunday Adetona, judged the contestants.They assessed how well the robots followed the colour codes. Some colour sensor did not work well, so they turned round on one spot and could not make much progress. However, eight teams completed the maze, though in extra time. One of them, Autodroid even got their robot to the maze in four minutes and 59 seconds. But it was not enough to get them the star prize. Their prodding cost them some marks and landed them in third place with 69 points. They won N30,000. In second place was Team Joda, which got 71 points and was rewarded with N50,000. Team Overrides won with 72 points and received N150,000.
In addition to their prize money, the teams got N10,000.
The programme also featured a display of humanoids (robots with human form) playing football. Some students hacked the humanoids and to reprogramme them to be autonomous and move on their own.
Team Overrides, which comprised Timilehin Tayo (Electrical/Electronics Engineering), Tayo Ogunbiyi (Computer Engineering), Dare Adewunmi (Elect/Elect), and Emeka Okafor (Mechanical Engineering), all 400-Level students, were overjoyed.