Robotics is a wonderful platform for learning 21st century skills. Solving robotic challenges builds innovation, creativity and problem solving skills in students, and because robotics cross multiple curriculum subjects, students must learn and apply their knowledge in science, engineering, math, and computer programming. The most rewarding part of designing robots is that students have fun, work together as a team, and learning occurs as naturally as breathing air.
WRO has been building this learning platform for 7 years now. Our first robotics competition was in 2004 where we had 12 countries and 4000 teams. In 2012 we anticipate over 35 countries and over 15,000 teams from around the world taking part in WRO activities in local, regional, and national competitions.
- America: Bolivia, Costarica, Mexico,
- Erope: Denmark, Germany, Greece, Ukraine, Russia,
- Africa & Middle East: Bahrai, Iran, Lebanon, Oman, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Egypt, Kuwait, Nigeria, Qatar, South Africa & UAE,
- Asia Pasific & South Asia: Australia, Hongkong, Indonesia, Korea, Mongolia, Singapore, Thailand, China, India, Japan, Malaysia, Philippine & Taiwan.
At that time Mr. TaeSoo Park, the president of the Korean company ”Learning Tool, Inc.”, contacted Mr. Lars Vahl, Director of LEGO Education Asia Pacific, with a proposal to start a robotics competition involving students from Asian countries.
In year 2000 four countries (Korea, China, Japan and Singapore) joined the pilot project, and the first international competition – titled International Robot Olympiad – took place in the Olympic Park Seoul, Korea.
In 2003 the four founding countries and LEGO Education established an international WRO Committee, who decided to establish a new and permanent robotic organization, based on the idea that students from all over the world should have the opportunity to meet with other students to fulfill the new mission statement:
“To bring together young people all over the world to develop their creativity, design & problem solving skills through challenging & educational robot competitions and activities”
The WRO Committee decided the new name WORLD ROBOT OLYMPIAD, and new WRO logos were developed.
Finally the WRO Statutes and a set of General Rules were worked out to ensure a sound and safe future for WRO. One of the major decisions, which appears in the Statutes, was that the international WRO event should be hosted by a new country each year and a WRO Chairman should be elected by the WRO Committee once a year.
The awareness’ of WRO grew rapidly and already in 2004, 12 countries participated in the international WRO event hosted by Singapore. In 2011, more than 15,000 children from 34 countries participated.
Competitions in WRO
World Robot Olympiad organizes robotics competitions in three different competition categories
Later, the Open Category competition was introduced. The Open category is a theme based competition in which teams use their creativity and problem solving skills in constructing smart robotic solutions that complement the theme of the competition. In 2011 the theme of the Open category was “Robots for Life Improvement”.
The Regular Category is a challenge based competition in which students must build construct and program their robots to solve a challenge. Examples could be for the robot to climb stairs and collect table tennis balls or sort objects of various colours and shapes.
WRO operates with three age categories: Elementary, Junior High and High School. Each age category will compete using individually designed challenges to ensure age appropriateness in terms of difficulty.
The challenges are developed by the host country of the final in a given year and instructions on how to construct the challenges will be made available online and distributed to National Organizers.
The Open Category is a theme based competition. Here students must construct and program installations that represent the theme of the competition. Examples of themes are “Robots Promote Tourism” (WRO 2010) and “Robots for life improvement” (WRO 2011).
Students are encouraged to present their projects by producing presentations that explain their project.
To encourage fair competition the Open Category is also divided into three age categories; Elementary, Junior High and High School.
WRO GEN II Football is a new competition within WRO. The competition concept was tested in the 2010 final in Manila and a full scale pilot was organized for 2011. WRO GEN II Football quickly proved to be a success as supporters of the teams provides a great atmosphere around the playing fields.
WRO GEN II Football is characterized by two teams of two autonomous robots playing a game of 10 minutes. WRO operates with only one age category and all studens between the age of 10 to 19 can participate.
Materials allowed to construct the robots are LEGO® MINDSTORMS™ and controllers must be either RCX or NXT and sensors from HiTechnic. The official IR Ball is from HiTechnic.
The GEN II rules are used with special permission from RoboCup Junior Australia (RCJA).
The World Robot Olympiad has introduced new and more flexible age group definitions.
The age group definition for the Regular and Open categories was changed to allow a little more flexibility. For WRO GEN II Football there is only one age group.
- Elementary (Primary) School Age: Date of birth falls on or after January 01, 2000.
- Junior High (Middle) School Age: Date of birth falls in the period January 01, 1997 to December 31, 1999. (If date of birth falls outside this range, it must not fall more than 6 months after this period).
- High (Secondary) School Age: Date of birth falls in the period January 01, 1993 to December 31, 1996. (If date of birth falls outside this range, it must not fall more than 6 months after this period).
- WRO GEN II Football: Birthday falls in the period January 01, 1993 to December 31, 2001. (If date of birth falls outside this range, it must not fall more than 6 months after this period).
- College & University Exhibition: Open to all postâ€secondary school students.
The governing authority in WRO is the WRO Advisory Council (AC). A smaller group of AC members constitutes what is called the Board of Trustees (BOT). The reason for this organizational structure of the WRO is that from January 1st 2011 the WRO has become a legal entity, registered in Singapore as a nonprofit company. The official name of the WRO is now World Robot Olympiad Association Ltd.
Daily operations of WRO are managed by the WRO Secretary General and WRO Program Manager.
Challenge for WRO 2012 in Malaysia
Robots which can be integrated into our everyday lives, socialize with people, and perform complex tasks for them have been the stuff of Science Fiction dreams. To do that, robots need to possess the ability to learn and acquire artificial intelligence by themselves, but more importantly they first need to “know” how humans function both as an individual and in a society.
The name of this year’s elementary school regular category challenge is “Robot Organizer”. This year’s theme, “Robots Connecting People” encourages you to build robots that can fit in with human society. In order to achieve that, you must first explore and understand human nature.
One of people’s most prominent nature is to keep things well organized. We organize our personal belongings, be it at home, school, public places, or work. Think cupboards, libraries, and stores. Not only does organizing helps us find things quickly whenever we need them again, it is an essential skill which allows many people to work together in a cohesive, effective, and efficient fashion such that huge operations (which can be hard for one person to do) can be performed successfully.
The name of this year’s junior high school regular category challenge is “Robot Columbus”. This year’s theme, “Robots Connecting People” encourages you to build robots that can fit in with human society. In order to achieve that, you must first explore and understand human nature. Exploration has powered human civilizations for centuries. People have explored vast seas, great mountains, rolling plains, and dangerous jungles in search of resources. Think oil rigs and mining colonies. Resources are important because they allow us to shape the environment we live in. Have you wondered how different it would be if we did not have cars, buildings, and electricity? When people lack a certain resource, they trade with others to obtain them. That is how towns, cities, and nations are born.
The name of this year’s senior high school regular category challenge is “Robot Van Gogh”. This year’s theme, “Robots Connecting People” encourages you to build robots that can fit in with human society. In order to achieve that, you must first explore and understand human nature.
Colours have always been a part of humankind. We use them to identify things, celebrate festivals, and create beautiful artworks. Colours elicit emotional responses, and people use them to express themselves. Red often means love and other strong emotions, yellow means bright and positive, while blue means trustworthy and confident. Colours are also a celebration of life, and in many countries particular colours are sometimes used to identify with their culture.
For Open catagory: Robots which can be integrated into our everyday lives, socialize with people, and perform complex tasks for them have been the stuff of Science Fiction dreams. To do that, robots need to possess the ability to learn and acquire artificial intelligence by themselves, but more importantly they first need to “know” how humans function both as an individual and in a society.
This year’s theme “Robots Connecting People” encourages you to explore just that. You are to build projects where robots strongly display an understanding of some part of human nature, how we work in a society, or how we live.
Some example projects you may explore:
- Robots that mimic facial expressions.
- Robots that recognize colours and alphabets and how we use them.
- Robots that recognize private and public surroundings and act accordingly.
- Robots that play human games (or play against humans)!
- Robots that function alongside humans when they are at their jobs.
- Robots that are able to make decisions based on past experience.
- Robots that replicate festivals.