Robotics Competition 2018-11-05T09:14:07+00:00

Northwestern State University Robotics Competition and Smart Structures Show

What: Northwestern State University Robotics Competition and Smart Structures Show (RC&S3, Fall 2018)

When: Wednesday, November 28, 2018 8:00 AM – 1:00 PM

Where: Northwestern State University, Student Ballroom

Contact: Ms. Erin Bates (batese@nsula.edu) or Dr. Jafar F. Al-Sharab (jafar@nsula.edu) – Northwestern State University

The Department of Engineering Technology at Northwestern State University will be hosting its Fall Robotics Competition and Smart Structures Show (RC&S3) on November 28th, 2018. All middle schools within 200 miles radius from Natchitoches city are welcome to participate. This year, we are also organizing a smart structures show to provide opportunities for high schools and other organizations that are involved in robotics related projects to show their creativity at our event. There is no registration fee for the competition or show, however, those interested in participating in the competition must respond to the announcement by submitting a letter of intent and a press/photo release form (for each team member) no later than November 16th, 2018. All forms are attached. Documents should be sent to Ms. Erin Bates at batese@nsula.edu.

Come test your computer programming skills and compete with other Louisiana students for cool prizes! A fun day is planned at Northwestern State University with educational experiences, and social activities. The Department of Engineering Technology will provide complementary refreshments. Please bring your own lunch. Parents are welcome too! Details on the rules of the competition are below.

Click here to download all of the infomation contained on this webpage as a PDF.

The letter of intent and photo/press release forms should be sent to Ms. Erin Bates via email at batese@nsula.edu by November 16, 2018. The term “RC&S3-Spring” should appear in the subject line for proper filtration.

Photo Release Forms

Letter of Intent (Online Form)

General Rules and Instructions

This tournament will test the students’ ability to design, engineer, and program a robot that can be used to compete in a robotics competition challenge. The NSU-RC will have 4 events on competition day. The events are as follows: 1. a race/speed challenge, 2. a strength/weight pulling challenge, 3. an accuracy/problem solving challenge, and 4. a maze challenge.

The main goal of this tournament is to promote STEM-related activities, in hopes of guiding students towards a career in science, technology, engineering and mathematics. This tournament is designed to be fun, while helping them to think above and beyond the limits of their normal robotics studies.

The following rules will need to be observed to ensure fairness and competitiveness during the competition:

  1. There will be a total of 4 events on competition day. Students will have 2 attempts at each event, but only the best score from each event will be used.
  2. Teams will be allotted 15 minutes between rounds to make necessary changes and adjustments to their robots as needed.
  3. Trophies and prizes will only be awarded to the top three teams that achieve the highest number of points during the competition
  4. Only students are allowed to participate during the competition. All work, prior to and on the competition day, must be solely the work of the students’ themselves. Teams that receive unauthorized aid will be disqualified from the tournament, and their scores will be forfeit. The role of adults is only to facilitate and supervise team members in the competition area.
  5. Only students are allowed in the competition area. While in the competition area, they must not block the judges’ view.
  6. Teams are not allowed to program another group’s robot or maliciously sabotage another group’s robot, program, etc. Teams that do so will instantly face disqualification.
  7. Students and coaches are responsible for reading over the rules and guidelines of the tournament prior to the date of the competition.
  8. NSU will make every effort to ensure fairness and competitiveness amongst team members on competition day. If there is a clarification needed on a rule or aspect of the competition, coaches may submit their query to the appropriate party. (TBA)
  9. All judges will be well versed in the rules and aspects of the competitions and challenges. No photo or video record, made by any individual, will be used by scoring purposes.
  10. In the event that the students’ robot breaks down during competition, teams will not be allotted time to rebuild or fix their robot.
  11. All robots built by students must not exceed the dimensions of 12″ x12″ x 12″. The robot and all of its components (motors, sensors, cables, etc.) must be able to fit inside the starting position of each challenge.
  12. All participated robots  should consist of only one brick with up to 4 motors attached to it.
  13. This is an open robotics tournament. Student groups are allowed to utilize the following robots for this challenge: LEGO Mindstorms NXT or EV3 models, Parallax BoeBots, and VEX IQ, EDR or PLTW Gateway to Technology (GTT) model robots. The programming platform for robots is up to the discretion of the teams, but Robot-C is highly recommended.
  14. All robots must be autonomous and may not be remotely controlled except for the maze challenge.
  15. Teams may only use the materials that come with their respective robotics kits. Teams may not use outside materials such as oil, glue, tape, etc. that may impact the performance of another team.
  16. Please bear in mind that the lighting and floor conditions on competition day may be different from that of the classroom, and therefore may impact the performance of a robot.
  17. Teams may participate with more than one robot. If team started a challenge with certain robot, same robot will used for the end of challenge
  18. Each school will create and wear name tags that identify the teams school and team number as designated by the RC&S3 tournament. Robots will be marked with the school name and team number. Robots will only programmed and used by their assigned team members. Schools should endeavor to maximize their students ability to code the robot assigned to the team by the school. Students should minimize help provided to another team whether within their school or without. Schools should concentrate on bringing to the tournament an appropriate number of teams and students commiserate with their ability to successfully compete in the tournament. Robots will only be allowed to compete in each event twice and only as a part of the team that programmed and built it. Every effort should be made by each school’s leadership to comply with the spirit of competition and tournament integrity.
  19. Due to the size of the competition venue, each school is only allowed to bring 4 teams each, made up of no more than 6 students per team.
  20. Only the first 25 teams who respond to the announcement by November 16th, 2018 will be invited to participate in our robotics competition.
  21. 21. Participating Schools may receive only one award.
The first part of the robotics competition will be a speed challenge, to test the group’s ability to engineer a robot that can race down a straight-line course in the fastest time possible. At the beginning of this challenge, student groups will place their robot behind the start line, and the judges will set a stopwatch to zero. The judge will give a countdown of “3, 2, 1, GO!”  Upon the word GO, students will activate their programs. The robot that travels down the 15 foot long straight-line course in the fastest amount of time possible will win points for this challenge. Only the top 5 teams with the fastest times will receive points for this challenge. Teams that do not travel within the boundaries of the course will face disqualification from this aspect of the challenge. The breakdown of points for this challenge can be seen in section VIII. Teams that do not place in the top 5 will not receive points. Students will have 2 attempts at this challenge, with only the best score from the two attempts being used for scoring.
The second part of the robotics competition will be a strength challenge, to test the group’s ability to engineer a robot that can pull the largest amount (in pounds) of weight, via a tension scale, within a 10 second time limit. Student groups, with the assistance of a judge, will hook their robot up to the tension scale. When the student group is ready, the judge will give a countdown of “3, 2, 1, GO!” Upon the word GO, students will activate their programs. The robot will have 10 seconds to pull as much weight as it can on the tension scale before time is called. All robots must end their programs after 10 seconds, or face disqualification. Students are not allowed to touch or unhook their robots until the judge has recorded the results of this challenge. Students will have 2 attempts at this challenge, with only the best score from the two attempts being used for scoring. Only the scores of the top five teams will be recorded for this challenge.
The third and final challenge of the competition will be an accuracy challenge, to test the group’s ability to engineer a robot that can retrieve a specific item in the fastest time possible.  The challenge will take place within an 8’x4′ rectangular area, with the robot positioned in the bottom left corner. Students must program their robot to retrieve a red ball from top left corner of the rectangular area, take it to a holder at the middle of the board, and then park their robot at the top right corner of the mat. Once students have positioned their robots in the start position, the judge will give a countdown of “3, 2, 1, GO!” Upon the word GO, students will activate their programs. Once the program is activated, the robot has 1 minute to complete the challenge. The teams that complete this challenge correctly in the fastest amount of time possible will receive points from this challenge. Students will have 2 attempts at this challenge, with only the best score from the two attempts being used for scoring. Only the scores of the top five teams will be recorded for this challenge.
In the maze challenge, each team should navigate the robot using remote control from start to end without touching the walls with the minimum time. Dimensions of the maze challenge are explained in the appendix. Both time and accuracy will be observed and recorded. In this challenge, each team member will be giving the chance to navigate the robot using remote control.  Robot should stay within the boundaries of the maze without touching walls. If a robot touches the walls, it will disqualify.  Students will be given one attempt only for his challenge. Once students have positioned their robots in the start position, the judge will give a countdown of “3, 2, 1, GO!” Upon the word GO, students will activate their robot and start the navigation process through he maze until the end position. The teams that complete this challenge correctly in the fastest amount of time possible will receive points from this challenge. Only scores of the top five teams will be recorded for this challenge.
In the event that a tie-breaker between two teams is needed, the two teams will engage in a tug of war match between their robots. Each team will tie one end of a rope to their robot, each of which will be on opposite sides of a single black line. The judge will give a countdown of “3, 2, 1, GO!” Upon the word GO, students from both groups will activate their programs. The student group whose robot succeeds in dragging their opponent across the line first will be declared the winner. During play, students are not allowed to touch either robot. If the robots enter a state of equilibrium, the robot that is the furthest from the center line after one minute will be declared the winner.
Challenge 1: Black electrical tape, laid out in a range of 2′ x 15′ square for the speed challenge course.

Challenge 2: A tension scale with either a hook or string at the end, to attach to student’s robots.

Challenge 3: An 8′ x 4′ rectangle with 12″ x”12 squares in each of the four corners and a 6″ x 6″ square in the center of the mat. The red ball from the standard LEGO NXT Educator Robot can be used as the ball for the challenge.

Challenge 1: Speed

How Points are Awarded: Points will be awarded to the teams with the fastest times. The breakdown of points can be seen in the chart below. Times for each group will be recorded and sent to the scoring committee for calculation. Winners of the challenge will be announced once all teams have completed the challenge.

1st Place (Fastest time out of all the teams): 50
2nd Place: 40
3rd Place: 30
4th Place: 20
5th Place: 10
6th-Last: 0 points
Touching the robot while it is in play: Disqualification
Robot does not stop autonomously between the 15 foot and 20 foot marker: Disqualification

Challenge 2: Strength

How Points are Awarded: Points will be awarded to the teams that pull the most weight on the tension scale within a 10 second interval. The amount of weight pulled by each team will be recorded by the judges and sent to the scoring committee for calculation. Winners of the challenge will be announced once all teams have completed the challenge.

1st Place (Pulls the most weight out of all robots): 50
2nd Place: 40
3rd Place: 30
4th Place: 20
5th Place: 10
6th-Last: 0 points
Touching the robot while it is in play: Disqualification
Robot does not stop autonomously after 10 second time limit has elapsed: Disqualification

Challenge 3: Accuracy

How Points are Awarded: During this challenge, students will receive points for completing the various aspects of the challenge. The team that procures the most points within the 1 minute time limit will be declared the winner of this challenge. Winners of the challenge will be announced once all teams have completed the challenge.

Overall Scoring of Challenge 3

1st Place (Team that procures the most points): 50
2nd Place: 40
3rd Place: 30
4th Place: 20
5th Place: 10
6th-Last: 0 points

Individualized Scoring of Challenge 3

Retrieving the Red ball with the robot: 10 points
Successfully delivering the red ball to the 6″ x 6″ box in the center of the board: 10 points
Successfully parking the robot within the correct end position: 10 points
Time left on the clock if 1 minute interval has not been allotted: (Varies) Example: If a team completes this challenge in 45 seconds and 15 seconds are left on the clock, then the team will receive 15 points towards their individualized score.
Touching the robot while it is in play: Disqualification
Robot leaves the boundaries of the playing field: Disqualification

Challenge 4: Maze

How Points are Awarded: During this challenge, students will receive points for completing the various aspects of the challenge. The team that procures the most points within the shortest time limit will be declared the winner of this challenge. Winners of the challenge will be announced once all teams have completed the challenge.
1st Place: 50
2nd Place: 40
3rd Place: 30
4th Place: 20
5th Place: 10
6th-Last: 0
Touching the robot while it is in play: Disqualification
Robot hits walls: Disqualification

Overall Competition Winner

How Points are Awarded: The total sum of points from all three events will be added together to determine the winner of the competition
1st Place: Highest number of points accumulated.
2nd Place: 2nd Highest number of points accumulated.
3rd Place: 3rd Highest number of points accumulated.
4th Place-Last: 4th Highest number of points accumulated

***Tie Breaker***: The robot that successfully pulls the other team’s robot over the line or the robot that is furthest from the line after 1 minute, if a state of equilibrium is reached.

At the end of the competition day, students will participate in an awards ceremony. Participating Schools may receive only one award. All students who take part in the tournament will receive a certificate of recognition for their efforts in participating in the tournament. The top 3 teams of the competition will receive the following:

1st Place: a 1st Place trophy, in addition to $150, which their school can use to purchase technology for the classroom
2nd Place: a 2nd Place trophy, in addition to $100, which their school can use to purchase technology for the classroom
3rd Place: a 3rd Place trophy, in addition to $50, which their school can use to purchase technology for the classroom

***Please note that a receipt of purchases must be e-mailed or faxed to NSU Engineering and Technology Department to verify prize monetary purchase was used for technology purposes otherwise you will be banned from participating in future events***

Dr. Jafar F. Al-Sharab
Dept. of Engineering Technology
Northwestern State University
215 Williamson Hall
175 Sam Sibley Dr.
Natchitoches, LA 71497
Phone: 318-357-4359
E-mail: jafar@nsula.edu

Lynda Delo
MST Coordinator
Caddo Parish Schools
1638 Murphy Street
Shreveport, LA  71103
Phone: 318-603-6640

The Department of Engineering Technology at NSU would like to thank all those who help in NSU Robotics competition and related STEM activities.  Special thanks to Lynda Delo, MST Coordinator, at Caddo Parish Schools, and Mr. Matthew C. Murry, robotics teacher at Ridgewood Middle School. We also thank Ms. Danielle Bullock for her help in the establishment of this competition while she was the  MST coordinator at Caddo Parish Schools.  This competition is sponsored by Natchitoches Chamber Education Fund.

This program is sponsored by the Natchitoches Chamber Education Fund and the ET Department at Northwestern State University