From December 7th to 9th,2018 MakeX Robotics Competition was initiated and sponsored by Makeblock, held the 2018 Global Finals of its Robotics Competition at the Nansha Stadium in Guangzhou. 350 teams from around the world participated in the finals after months of preliminary competitions in 50 cities worldwide. The competitors hailed from 20 different countries in Europe, the Americas, Asia, and Oceania. The championship tournament in Guangzhou finished with 8 teams winning a combined 500,000 RMB, awarded by the STEAM Education Dream Fund.
The 2018 MakeX Robotics Competition was divided into three different tiers for different age groups: MakeX Starter – Blue Planet, MakeX Challenge – Interstellar Exploration, and MakeX Premier – Siege and Guard. Each theme featured exciting game content, innovative gameplay, and its own target objective.
On the 7th of December, following a practice session, all teams entered the qualifying stage in the afternoon, battling with their competitors in order to advance to the next stage of the competition.
MakeX Starter -Blue Planet
MakeX Starter is for primary and junior high school students. It has the most basic requirements for entry. This level focuses on examining teenagers’ ability to program and use sensors to make their robot could run accurately and autonomously. In other words, to finish tasks by itself. The unique alliance competition system at this level reveals the contestants’ ability to organize inter-team cooperation strategies.
On the battlefield, contestants used the basic mBot kit to design and carry out their unique robot. Various blue robot cars galloped and completed the related tasks on the map, and their wonderful performance won the applause from the audience.
MakeX Challenge -Interstellar Exploration
In MakeX Challenge, competitor robots must collect blocks, representing an energy source or fuel for interplanetary navigation. Each sides’ robots must grab the “energy” blocks and pile them up in a designated area in order to gain energy points. The higher the energy blocks are piled, the more energy is gained. The team that builds the highest stack of energy blocks wins the competition. This level requires robots to have fluency in grasping, stacking, accuracy, and stability.
In the competition, contestants skillfully used various strategies to seize the opportunity of getting the middle energy block, which gave a higher score. Both sides tried to finish more of the task and fought until the last second.
MakeX Premier – Siege and Guard
Of the three competition programs, MakeX Premier has the highest requirements of its contestants. It’s up to junior high students to test multiple strategies in order to meet an array of diverse demands for robot design and technology. Contestants use a robot to simulate a scene in which soldiers are trained in battle. Both sides’ robots lift balls from the ground that represent soldiers rising in rank. To get higher points the robots can also grab ammunition from the ground and use it to knock down the other side’s robot, lowering the opponent’s points. Finally, the side with the overall highest points wins.
Compared with the other two competition programs, being in the center of the stadium, Siege and Guard had greatly attracted the attention of the audience. The whole process was more exciting and irritating, and hundreds of thousands of online viewers watched the MakeX Championship live.
Blue Planet program
On the 8th, all teams fought tooth and nail to stand out from the qualifying session. In the Blue Planet program, there was a session called Technical Challenge. For those who struggled in the qualifying session, the Technical Challenge provided a platform to them to continue to enjoy the competition and communicate with more intentional teams. For MakeX Challenge Interstellar Exploration and MakeX Premier – Siege and Guard, there were a Knockout Challenge and a Technical Challenge. 4 alliance teams finally advanced to the final day’s championship.
Robistim is a team from Turkey. This was their first time participating in an overseas robotics competition. Onur from Robistim said, “I really enjoy MakeX competition, and feel excited to meet so many great teams who has the same passion about robotics like us.” Because of some technical problems and their unfamiliarity with the competition rules, they did not advance. But they prepared a gift for their competitor, the team from Croatia, in advance.
Coding Academy is a group from Mexico who came a long way to the finals. “We are very proud of our kids and happy to see that they enjoy the games,” their instructor went on, “The kids are crazy about robots. All of their mothers are here with them today. It was a lot of hard work to be able to play here, but all was worth it.”
December 9th was the day of the final round. After a fierce competition, the following teams finally won the championship: 4 teams from Hunan Leading Robot School; 2 teams from Shenzhen Korei Education, Yiqi Make Team and Genesis Team.
As the grand finale to the tournament, MakeX Robotics Competition Committee announced new competition programs for MakeX 2019:
- MakeX Spark-My City, a creative low-threshold program for students of ages 6 to 18;
- MakeX Coding-Multiple Themes, a creative online community program.
The Committee also introduced new themes to the existing programs for the 2019 season:
- MakeX Starter-City Guardian;
- MakeX Challenge-Courageous Traveler;
- MakeX Premier-Strong Alliance.
MakeX 2019 will pass on the MakeX spirit of creativity, teamwork, sharing and fun with STEAM education as its core. Contestants will be tested on engineering, collaboration and strategy. More equipment options will be available in MakeX 2019 such as new mainboard models, electronic parts, motors, and structural parts. These will bring more excitement, competitiveness and a fresher experience to the tournament. Jasen Wang, Founder & CEO of Makeblock, the initiator and sponsor of MakeX, said: “Robotics is the best way to teach kids how to code. By competing with robots, they put their thoughts, problem-solving, communication and creative skills on trial and get to know the digital world through what they code. We want to host the best robotics competition and hope one day can bring MakeX to every corner of the world.”
By joining the MakeX, contestants will ultimately enrich their knowledge in science, technology, engineering, arts, and mathematics.