It was an experience of a lifetime for us and a proud moment to represent Oman in Qatar and Bahrain for the GCC Robotics Challenge. The journey started in the month of January 2017 and the success was the outcome of nearly 4 months of consistent hard work. We worked almost all weekends in college. We had to try different controllers like Arduino and Vex and hence, required testing and experimenting on various sensors. We finally decided to opt for Vex, owing to its longer battery life and sturdy physical structure. But we had the limitations of only 2 controllers in the department which was not sufficiently enough to manage all the 6 rounds of the competition.
Yaseen Ghabish Ghsham Al-Misheifri
Mahmood Said Juma Al-Falahi
Ghareeb Jameel Obaid Al Muhairzi
Amira Sultan Al-Hajri
Ammar Yousef Al Farsi
Ali Khamis Al Kharusi
The other challenge we faced was the testing ground. Apart from building the robot body and programming it, we needed to simulate the testing arena as per the specification given in the competition rules. There was no time during regular weekdays because of college work and exams. But there was good support from our supervisors and technicians who were willing to put in that extra time and effort on weekends and stayed late after college, providing us with guidance and equipment.
We had to undergo frustrations many times because of limited Vex sensors and so we had to search for the Vex supplier. We spent a lot of money buying extra components with a strong will to win the competition. The qualifying round was hosted by SQU with 5 teams from SQU, 3 teams from ACT and one from Military College. The arena in SQU was available only on the previous day and we had to make a few more modifications based on the lighting in SQU. Finally, we gave a tough fight to all other contestants and came out successfully as one among the two teams to represent Oman in the finals in Qatar.
Our Dean was overwhelmed with joy to hear the news and he extended maximum support and motivation to the team. He wanted us to go well equipped for the finals and provided us with the extra components, sensors and sponsorship for our stay and travel. This was the first time ACT students from Engineering Department were travelling for an international competition. The ADAA, HoD and HoS and administration staff were also very supportive in all possible ways. This support from management gave us the motivation and encouragement to go ahead with more confidence and the responsibility to bring victory. We are thankful to all of them. We, a team of 3 boys, 1 girl and a supervisor carried nearly 30 kg of a robotics kit all the way to Qatar. The competition organizers updated us regularly with new specifications through Whatsapp and emails. In the final round, the arena was not shown to the contestants before and hence we needed that extra planning even for the unexpected. We converted the hotel room into a project lab and rehearsed all rounds .We needed meticulous time planning on how fast to change physical structure, circuit connections and programs between rounds. All the tools were kept in place to avoid delays between rounds. Tags were attached to the wires to avoid confusion in the event of loose connection in the field.
Yaseen managed the remote control rounds, Ghareeb the sumo round and Mahmoud took charge of other autonomous rounds. Thuraya helped in charging batteries and using tools. All the other competing teams in the final round were from the leading universities of the GCC countries. It was a tough and thrilling experience in each round and we were progressing from 3rd to 2nd and then finally reached first place in the 6th round, pushing the SQU team to the second place.
It was an amazing moment when we were declared the winners. All our hard work paid off. Our Dean was overwhelmed to hear the news and he arranged a grand welcome for us at the airport with ADAA, HoD and all section heads along with Dr. Muna Salim Al Jardani, Undersecretary of Technical and Vocational training.
Later our country celebrated the win with our pictures in social media and newspapers. The leader of the team, Ghareeb was interviewed by Oman TV on the success. The success story didn’t come to an end with that. We had to immediately warm up and get ready for another competition in GCC Congress 2017 in Bahrain organized by IEEE. This was a grand event in which the Robotics competition was one among many events like poster presentation, project competition and IEEE branch competition. Many universities represented Oman for various events but only our team from ACT got second place in the Robotics Challenge event. As ACTians we were happy and proud to bring glory to Oman again. The IEEE Oman branch felicitated us with a grand