4th Annual SAITM Robotics Challenge (SRC 16)

21st April 2016

The Faculty of Engineering, at South Asian Institute of technology and Medicine (SAITM) is getting ready to stage the SAITM Robotics Challenge for the fourth consecutive year in few days time. SAITM Robotics Challenge, SRC is a prominent annual competition in Sri Lanka’s technological calendar, with hundreds of students participating with their designs each year. This year’s competition takes place on the 29th of April 2016, at SAITM Auditorium in Malabe.

Started in 2013 as an undergraduate level competition, SAITM Robotics Challenge for three consecutive years drew university students representing both state and non-state sector universities from Engineering, Science and Technology disciplines. Since then, SRC continued in each with additional competition for school students in 2014 and 2015 as well.

The theme of the challenge emulates the use of mobile robotics in real world applications, for example in goods handling in a manufacturing facility. Each year groups of students design and build a robot that can follow instructions to navigate through the competition arena and fulfil a task such as arranging objects according to the given instructions. The mission of each robot is to complete the challenge in the shortest possible time, where the winners are decided on the performance of the robot in completing the challenge as well as the time taken. Competition tests the students’ ability to work as a team, apply their knowledge from a range of subject areas from Mechanics, Electronics to Computer Systems, and fine tune their design under a time limit.

In organizing SAITM Robotics Challenge, SAITM Faculty of Engineering strives to promote engineering design among Sri Lankan youth and encourage them to come forward with innovative solutions to real life applications. It provides a good platform to identify talented youngsters enabling them to share their knowledge and experience. The competition raises awareness and positive attitude among students towards the challenges and developments in today’s technical arena with particular focus given to robotics and Automation.

The SRC ‘13 was the first of its kind to be organized by the Faculty of Engineering, SAITM. Students from Engineering and Science degree programs competed in SRC ‘13 from 11 state and non-state sector universities. In year 2014 the competition was restructured with a school level competition in addition to the competition for undergraduate students. There were teams representing 21 universities in the undergraduate category of the competition, and while 26 local and international schools were represented in the school category, with the total participation reaching about 500 students.

The challenge in SRC ‘15 again featured two main challenges, one for school students to build an autonomous navigating robot and the other for undergraduate students emulating a gaming platform for robots, with a ball shooting area and goal. Many academics and professionals from state universities and industries contributed to SAITM Robotics Challenge in the panel of Judges, where Prof. Nimal Ekanayake, (University of Peradeniya) and Dr. Nalin Ranasinghe (University of Colombo, School of Computing) served as the Chair of the panel of Judges for undergraduate and school categories respectively in 2015 competition.

With close to a hundred of robots, designed and build by students around the country, competing in the event, SRC is promising to be a vibrant event again this year, a celebration of innovation and technical advancements among university students.

In addition to SRC, SAITM Faculty of Engineering also hosts a robotics competition for school students titled ‘RoboSprint’ under the SAITM STEM challenge. This year the RoboSprint competition for school students will take place at the end of October, with the applications for the competition accepted in June onwards.

This year total participation for SRC ‘16 is expected to be around 400 undergraduates, with undergraduates representing 21 state and non-state sector universities registered for this year’s challenge, which is promising to be a vibrant event celebrating innovation and technical advancements. Prof. E.M.N. Ekanayake, from University of Peradeniya will be leading the panel of Judges for SRC '16.

SAITM is an UGC approved, non-state sector degree awarding higher education institute in Sri Lanka established in year 2009. The Institute consists of four faculties, Faculty of Engineering, Faculty of Medicine, Faculty of ICT and Media and Faculty of Management and Finance; namely.