There are a plethora of Robotics Competitions organised throughout the year in Singapore. The format and the difficulty of these competitions remain a mystery to many parents. SRG, FLL, APYRC, NRC, IDE - not to mention the confusing abbrieviations? What are the differences and how should you best prepare your child for them? Let Nullspace Robotics navigate you through the maze of Robotics Competitions!
Jointly organised by the various polytechnics, ITEs and universities in Singapore. This competition involves higher-performance robotic systems, mainly created by tertiary students. As the events are challenging, they require dedicated research and development. Some examples of their events include Autonomous Underwater Robots and Legged Robot Marathon Race. The SRG is meant as a display to the public of what the tertiary students can do with robotics and a glimpse into the future generation commercially-available robots.
As the local version of the International FLL, it is one of the more prestigious LEGO Robotics competition in Singapore. Organised by Duck Learning, FLL requires participants to collect points by accomplishing missions with their LEGO robots. The unique part of this competition is that participants can change the program and attachments of the robots at the start base. So after accomplishing one mission, the robot can return to the start base, load up new attachments, and head off for another mission on the same playfield. Particpants must strategise on how best to complete the most missions within the 2.5 minutes. In addition to the mission run, participants must also carry out research on an environmental theme (e.g. reducing trash) and present it to the judges.
IDE is organised by Nullspace. This is a surprise LEGO competition, meaning the participants have no idea about the actual mission or playfield until the day itself. They then have about 3 hours to build/modify, program and test their robots on the playfield. The mission typically involves collecting and movement of cubes. This is slightly more challenging as it requires the participants to be able to strategise and bring their ideas to fruition promptly. The time limit tests the participants mettle and training thoroughly. If you are not well versed in programming and building, you might not be able to cope with the unknown!
As the name implies, this competition is organised by Rulang Primary School. This is also carried out in a surprise LEGO competition format. Particpants will have to build and program their LEGO robots to accomplish certain missions within 3 to 4 hours.
Jointly organised by Singapore Polytechnic and Science Centre Singapore. The competition consists of the Robo Soccer event and Robo Rescue to name a few. The Robo Soccer as the name alludes to, requires participants to build soccer robots to score points and defend the goal post. The Robo Rescue event requires participants to navigate obstacles like bumps, slopes and bottles. All in the bid to mimic rescue robots. All competition missions are revealed beforehand and robots can be built from any platforms.
NRPC is a LEGO Robot Competition that is similar to FLL. Participants must complete the numerous missions dotted across the playfield within 2.5 minutes. They are able to change their attachments and programs at the start base. The focus of this competition is on strategising on how best to achieve multiple missions using the fewest attachments as possible.
APYRC consists of many side events like the Sumo Robot, Tug-of-War and Creative Challenge. There is also a surprise mission event. The side events are carried out in a knock out system, whereby the winner progresses. Generally these events are less demanding of the participants as they require basic programming knowledge, thus it serves as a good exposure for beginners.
Organised by VJC, DSTA and DSO, this competition has 2 main events, the Exploration Challenge and the Autonomous Challenge. The Exploration Challenge requires participants to control 3 separate robots to complete missions together. Thus each team would have to build and prepare 3 robots either using the LEGO or the VEX platform. The Autonomous Challenge requires the robot to be programmed to complete a challenge (e.g. scanning and shifting of cubes in a certain order).
National Robotics Competition (NRC) - Previously known as National Junior Robotics Competition (NJRC)
Organised by Science Centre Singapore and Duck Learning, NRC is the local version of the World Robot Olympiad (WRO). This is another prestigious LEGO Robotics Competition where participants get to travel overseas to compete in the WRO if they manage to win the Championship award. The competition format is a single-run mission that requires the robot to complete a certain set of objectives to score points. There are no restarts from the start base unlike the FLL format. This is slightly less forgiving as any errors in the front part of the program will snowball and result in the robot failing.
As previously mentioned, this is the international version of the NRC. Every year the location of the competition changes!
I do like to highlight that the list of competitions here not exhaustive, and there may be other competitions that we did not mention. However these are the more prominent ones that schools often sign up and participate in.