David Burr, Zehuan Geng and Tsubasa Nakata with their robot.


'Robolympics' tests engineering skills

James Anderson and Joshua Pirihi ready their robot Wilma for its next event.

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First-year engineering students pitted robots against one another at the Manawatu campus yesterday at event known as the Robolympics.

It involves robots carrying out a series of events to test their design and performance.

Students have spent the past few weeks building the robots, senior engineering lecturer Ralph Ball says. “We put them through a few tasks to test them out, ranging from getting the robots to follow a straight line to following a spiral pattern. Some of the clever ones can follow the spiral in and then turn around and go back.”

Mr Ball says learning practical skills is vital. “The event is important because one of the first things they learn here is just because you have a circuit diagram and some instructions, it doesn’t mean it will always work. They have to put the plans into practice. Things take a long time to physically manifest, it’s more than just writing an assignment.”

Student Joshua Pirihi worked with James Anderson on a robot they called Wilma. Mr Pirihi says they started well. "we were looking good at the start but obviously there are some headaches, we had to make some last minute repairs.”

For more on the event visit:

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