Wennty: the Latin American Robotics Champion!

Wennty and the Team

Wennty was the robot that won the first place in the Open Category of the Chilean and Latin America version of the IEEE Robotics Competition (LARC) on 2007. The LARC is the most important robotics contest of Latin America and meets competitors from Chile in the South to Mexico in the North.

The robot was design and made by INacional 2K7, my team. INacional 2K7 was made up of 4 high school student and 2 college students. We were the youngest team. My role was to be responsible for the design and the construction of the robot.

Wennty was programmed with Not eXactly C (NXC).

The Challenge

The winner of the LARC 2007 would be the team behind the robot that scored the most points in the shortest time possible through a path of 9.9 ft long (3 m) with the following contiguos zones:

  • A maze,
  • a truncated pyramid,
  • a pool 0.5 ft (15 cm) deep and
  • a wooden deposit box.

In the maze and the pyramid, there were wooden cubes of 7.7 in3 (125 cm3) that had to be brought to the deposit and put into it. Wennty could know where it was inside the maze thanks to the status of the left and right rear touch sensors. When both sensors were pushed at the same time, the robot was perpendicular to a wall of the maze as shown in the video below.

During the pyramid climb, the robot maintained its trajectory thanks to a padlock. It the top side of the truncated pyramid, Wennty used the compass sensor to get back into full alignment. That process was repeated in the pool.

The robot was not waterproof, but it could go through the water because the electronic part were placed on the robot than 15 centimeters above the ground.

Sponsorship

The cost of our trip to Mexico and the robot were mainly thanks to the monetary contributions of Escuela de Ingeniería of Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile, Consejo Minero, our families, ex pupils of Instituto Nacional and friends.

Anecdotes

  • In the last day of competition, during a test, Wentty rolled into the pool! We had to cover the electronic components with plastic bags to prevent the partial or total loss in case the accident would happen again.
  • I made a great friend thanks to Wennty: Luis Alberto. I never thought that he would become a great friend because we discussed all the time.