General News

Hwa Chong Students Build Winning Robots

12 Jul 2019

From left to right : Sim Justin (18S6A), Zhang Yijian (19S63), Than Duc Huy (18S7B), Amadeus Aristo Winarto (18S7F)

Held in Sydney, Australia from 2 to 8 July, RoboCupJunior (RCJ) is a highly prestigious international robotics competition that enables children aged 13 to 19 to create robots. Two Hwa Chong teams were selected to represent Singapore in the “OnStage Advanced” and the “Rescue Line” categories respectively, after attaining stellar results in the local RoboCup Singapore Open. Despite facing fierce competition, the team comprising Than Duc Huy (18S7B), Amadeus Winarto Aristo (18S7F), Sim Justin (18S6A) and Zhang Yijian (19S63) who took part in the OnStage Advanced category clinched first place - an unprecedented accomplishment for Team Singapore. The second team comprised Yong Jun Han Louis and Muhammad Saajid Shaik.

The OnStage Advanced category invites teams to develop a creative stage performance using autonomous robots that they have designed, built and programmed. The objective is to create a robotic performance between 1 to 2 minutes that uses technology to engage an audience. For their performance, the team of four built 3 robots to simulate a dance game, making use of modern technologies such as Bluetooth, to ensure that the performance runs smoothly.

A humanoid robot named Eve was built for versatility, incorporating 20 degrees of freedom using servo motors, 5 on each limb, on a wheeled platform. It has a myriad of sensors, including ultrasonic sensors and a multi-axis orientation sensor, allowing for creative uses in different performances. Eve was programmed to communicate with a laptop which ran an image processing library to capture the performer’s pose through its webcam, thereby controlling Eve to emulate the actions of the human performer. This computer is also used as a central controller to provide cues to the other robots through Bluetooth as well, to ensure that the performance would be in sync.

The team also constructed a guitar-playing robot, Geeta. Servo motors were used to simulate the movement of finger movements in order to press down on the frets and pick the strings of the guitar. It was built using 3D printed parts and had a steel frame made from recycled IKEA furniture. Geeta can play music according to a photograph of a musical score. This is done through the implementation of traditional image processing algorithms to clean the picture. Following, machine learning algorithms are used to translate the image, identifying notes and note values to play on the guitar.

The final robot, Ather, was used for light effects. The robot was built on a base of 4 motors that were connected to omni-directional wheels to allow for holonomic movement, providing accessibility to the entire stage. Its frame was made out of carbon fibre, and was designed by the team. Ather also has a robotic arm connected to an RGB LED ring, providing 3 degrees of freedom which allowed for the direction and colour of lights to be altered for the performance.

The teams would like to express their greatest gratitude to the school for their continued support, and for allowing the team to represent Singapore and take part in the RCJ. The students are thankful for their tutors’ support from tutors and peers’ understanding and guidance during their preparation period.

They have learnt much from this experience as attested by Amadeus Aristo Winarto (18S7F):
  “For me, this is the first time I was able to successfully marry artificial intelligence and robotics to create something beyond what each can achieve alone, so ecstatic is probably an understatement. Nevertheless, the competition showed us how much more there are for us to learn in this field of robotics/AI. I hope to further explore this field and one day make something great out of it.”


Than Duc Huy (18S7B) expresses hopes for the future where he remarked that:
  “Since this is our first time participating in this category, we hope that this award will inspire our juniors to venture into new arenas and overcome unforeseeable challenges. We would like to express our deepest gratitude to the school for the support in making all these possible.”

From left to right: Amadeus Aristo Winarto (18S7F), Sim Justin (18S6A), Zhang Yijian (19S63), Than Duc Huy (18S7B)

From left to right: Mr Loh Tze Wei, Mrs Loh Yen Ling, Than Duc Huy (18S7B), Muhammad Saajid Shaik (19S67), Amadeus Aristo Winarto (18S7F), Sim Justin (18S6A), Yong Jun Han Louis (19S6G) (seated), Zhang Yijian (19S63) (seated)

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