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IDC Robocon – A photo recap

11 Aug

By Zuda Ng

A quick photo recap of my days in Brazil!

Day 0

Our Hotel Room

Day 1

Amazing Park in USP
With my teammate

Day 2

The Cafeteria’s Food! Standard meal (Rice + Beans + Salad/Vegetables + Meat + Fruit/ Dessert + Drinks)

Day 5

First night we ventured into the vibrancy of Sao Paulo!
Friendly Subway attendant that brought us to the main avenue.
First hand experience at the very nice and expensive Rubaiyat! But the experience was really awesome! Worth every single centavos!
The snack hut with interesting local delights!

Day 6

Street Market of Sao Paulo
Meat and Cheese filling! What more to ask for!
Road Side stall that sells “Chicken Rice” and “Sashimi”
Paulista Avenue
Paulista Avenue Pedestrian walkway!
Ibirapuera Park Monument
The Lake near the entrance!
Duckling Swan Geese spotted!
Space Observatory Museum in the park
Incredible performance by the carnival performers!
Jaw-Dropping Stunt! Head-stand!
Obelisk like structure near the park
Auditorium in the park
Entrance to the Auditorium
Skaters Haven in the park
Best Soda Ever! Guarana!
Lip Smacking Burger!

Day 11

Chilling out and experience how local enjoy their football games! (Sao Paulo vs Corinthians)

Day 12

Final Group photo
Competition Ground
Ramen at the Japan Festival
Churrasco (Grilled Meat) @ Fago Da Chao
My own interpretation of the word! (Japan Festival)
Touching down!!!
Souvenirs from friends in Brazil!

IDC Robocon – Day 12 – Competition & Our Departure

10 Aug

By Zuda Ng

Finally, the 12-days event have come to an end (8th of July till 19th of July)!  We have mixed feeling as we were leaving Brazil in lesser than 16 hours! We made ourselves pack most of our belonging and bounties that we have gathered throughout our trip; Chocolates, Havaianas sandals, pastries, key chains, Guarana soda, little gifts from fellow team-members ,etc. We left for USP at around 7:45am on Mr.”Polite-USP-Ambassador” coach!

When we reached USP, we ferried our “Robots” and some handy tools to our competition ground at the Japan-Festival. The entire journey took us close to 45-minutes! Our journey was like a breeze with our Brazilian counterparts who brought us their sensational “Rock-the-bus” Concert! Samba, Classic Rock, Hard Rock, and Country you named it and they can sing it! Impressive enough!!

Everyone is packing before we leave for the competition site
Last team picture in USP


Japanese loves technology! So, it’s not too difficult to associate linkage on why RoBoCon IDC 2013 Final will be held at the Japanese Festival! The venue was a huge Expo with mega indoor-outdoor spaces for any kind of exhibit!

Prominent Japanese brands such as Yamaha, Toyota, Honda, and Mitsubishi  were major sponsors of the event and had booths erected to showcase their latest products to the residents of Sao Paulo.

Festival Venue (Courtesy of Festival do Japão)

In bid to attract a large crowd, our competition course was placed at the prime location of the venue.

Competition Course at FESTIVAL DO JAPÃO
Maintenance Crew Pit Stop

For the Final Face-off, It was divided into 2 stages; the group matches and advance stages.

All the 8 teams were divided into 2 groups of 4 to play between the teams. First and Second Contender from each group will then proceed to the advance stages where Semi-Final and Final will be played to determine the winner of the RoBoCon 2013!

My team in action for match preparation
Major Damage! Wheel fell off our vehicle!!
Team Blue Structural Engineer (Zhixing) is performing a quick fix!

The teams that got through the semi-finals were Green, Orange, Grey and Red.

Dr. Mohan with the Winning Team ! Congrats Ann!

Glenn’s group (Green) faced Grey in the Semi-final and Ann’s group (Red) were up against the Orange! It was a close fight! Both team fought like there was no tomorrow! Grey team beaten the Green while Ann’s group triumphed the Orange and went on to the final! The Reds winning streak didn’t just stop there; they continued their winning spree and were crowned as the champion of RoboCon 2013! (Applause)

Worth mentioning, all the groups completed their objectives of having robots that can complete the entire circuit course!

Before we leave, we took the opportunity to take a photo with the organizer.

SUTD team picture with the organizer.
Robocon IDC 2013 “Family” photo-shoot

Lastly, All RoBoCon 2013 participants!!! (*SUTD Flag For-The-Win!)

After the award-presenting ceremony, we left for our final stop in Brazil! Fogo de Chão!

Fogo de Chão

Fogo de Chão can be loosely translated as “fire-place” (courtesy of Andrei Saito Ramalho) is a top-notch Southern-Brazil Steak House!

The Awards and Certificates Fago De Chao received!

They serve a whooping 15-cuts of meats of chicken, lamb, beef and pork. Each of the 15 variants has their own unique taste and flavor!

Personally, I enjoyed the Bottom Sirloin (Fraldinha in portuguese) the most! The meat was bursting with flavor and juice with the slightest hint of marination! Only the freshest beef made their way to our palate for us to savor this original taste!!! SYOK!!!!

The Gaucho Chefs and me! and their specialty.

To be fair i actually tried all of the meats (sinfully) , most of them were good if not great! Still, Bottom Sirloin was the best! Their Grilled Chicken was worth mentioning too! Crispy outer skin with succulent meat served in bite-size! What else can be more enjoyable!!!! My apology for not taking enough photos ! Too busy optimizing my meal-time!!

Next up was the sharing session. Every country’s participants were to present something about the country they were representing! Be it Psy Gangnam Style for the Korean, Japanese Cosplay , Thais Muay-Thai or the Chinese Tai-chi ! There must be something from every country!

Mega Gangnam Style Exercise from the Koreans!
Thai team is showing us how to do the traditional dance with French and Brazilian Background dancers!
Our Moroccan friend is trying the Japanese Traditional Game.

As for us, we did a brief introduction of Singapore Culture and food heritage as a fore-shadow for RoBoCon 2015 which will be held in Singapore!!

At around 10 pm, we left the party earlier with a heavy heart to catch our flight!

With the staffs that have been supporting and hosting us throughout the RoboCon

After 25 hours and countless “eat-sleep-movie” cycle, we touched down at Changi Airport!! What an experience I had for the past 12 days!!! Thank you SUTD!

Glenn and Jared happily seated on the A380!
Touching down in Changi Airport!

IDC Robocon – Day 11 – Seeding Day!

6 Aug

This morning was not a good morning. All of us girls completely, utterly overslept and almost missed the bus. We ended up eating our breakfast out of plastic cups so that we could ta-bao. The reason for our tardiness? This:

It vants to suck your blood...

It vants to suck your blood…

Someone was a little displeased with the involuntary blood donation...

Someone was a little displeased with the involuntary blood donation…

Due to our wonderful tiny leggy guests, we stayed up until 2am the night before to pack our things and change rooms. The three of us were shuffling around like zombies. It was probably not a good idea for us to be in the workshop, except that today is seeding day! No more serious machining, just some last-minute touch-ups and driving practice.

The format of the seeding is as follows: each team gets to drive alone on the track for 300 seconds to score points, and this is repeated so that each team gets to drive twice.

This is actually the track on the final day.

This is actually the track on the final day.

It was pretty cool seeing all the teams’ robots in action for the first time. (Most teams were generally quite wary of espionage.) Interestingly, all of the Machine 1 robots had a similar base design. They all had arms to create a section to store the balls and cubes, and a scoop to enclose the section and push the balls into the scoring boxes.

Red Team's Machine 1

Red Team’s Machine 1

Red Team's Machine 1 (side)

Red Team’s Machine 1 (side)

Machine 2 robots were slightly more diverse, with some augmented Machine 1-type designs, and some designs with arms.

Red Team's Machine 2 (front)

Red Team’s Machine 2 (front)

Red Team's Machine 2 (back)

Red Team’s Machine 2 (back)

But there was most diversity in the boat designs! Some had sails, some didn’t, some used a ramp, some used a raised platform, some used a lever to release the ball, while others used a temporary blocker.

Red Team's Boat

Red Team’s Boat

Isn’t she gorgeous?

All three machines

All three machines

And these were the results:

Seeding Results

Seeding Results

Yes, my team is currently just barely in the lead, since we accidentally drove into the scoring box during the second trial. It is quite exciting, but nerve-wracking since there are some other teams that are also very good, such as the orange team (whose Machine 1 has a fan to blow away the quicksand). Hopefully, my team will do well tomorrow!.

IDC Robocon – Day 10 – Last day of preparation

19 Jul

By Jarede (Portuguese) [Jared Ying]

Today was the last day of preparation before our seeding contests tomorrow. Everybody was busy making modifications to their robots. As for my team, we were still troubleshooting the programming of the robot and the boat which does not travel straight.


2013-07-18 17.52.48

I had an inspiration from Tamiya motor cars which I played when I was a kid. The car had rollers in front to keep it from going off track. Hence my team decided to improvise and place rollers in front of the boat to ensure it will travel in a straight line and it turned out to be a good.



After lunch, we came upon these group of students who were doing a promotional video for their project. We decided to take a picture with them in their unique costumes.



The local students told us this ” You haven’t been to Brazil, if you haven’t catch a live soccer match.”. Hence, in the evening they brought us to a local bar at Villa Mandelela to catch a live soccer match between Corinthian FC vs Sao Paulo FC. The area was similar to Holland Village where there were a lot of restaurants and bars along the street. They were all screening soccer matches at the same time also. The people in there were cheering on for their teams to score goals. The atmosphere was good.

2013-07-18 00.18.55

Before I went to bed, I received a message from my Mum. She wanted me to take good care of myself, so in order to ease all her worries I decided to send her this picture (below).


Khalil, our local friend, jokingly said, “I am never wrong. The only time I was wrong was when I thought I was wrong.”. Great thanks to these 2 local friends of ours, Luiz and Khalil who brought us so much fun and for bringing us around Sao Paulo.

Mohan, Luiz, Glenn, Jared, Khalil (right to left)

Mohan, Luiz, Glenn, Jared, Khalil (right to left)

IDC Robocon – Day 9 – Consultation Day

17 Jul

by Zuda Ng

As the competition day draws closer and closer, anxious participants and instructors are working hand in hand! Participants were given the opportunity to seek for “help” and “solutions” from the panel . However, things do not come free! Each “solution” offered costs 5-10 Reals depending on the complexity of the problem. The panel was very thoughtful for offering this option. They tried to make the entire RoboCon experience less strenuous as technical difficulties might burn the participants out!

Many did not take the offer (not any groups that i know) as we choose to take this as our “learning” experience. The concern whether our robot worked or not came after that! Oh, did i mention that the panel’s service offered provided “Money Back Guarantee” as well? If their suggestion does not work, you can get a full refund! (we all laughed when they told us that, they themselves too)

Happy Faces! Stress-free!

My stressed teammates!

3 Days to competition!!! We spent the entire day rectifying our robots and doing test runs! There goes my Day 9!!

IDC Robocon – Day 8 – Japanese village

16 Jul

By Glenn Sim

With 3 days left before the competition, the operating hours of the workshop has been extended to give us more time to complete our robots and prepare for the final showdown. As the canteens were extremely far from the workshop, we decided to give the nearby cafes a try. The concept of eating there is different and rather interesting. They have a wide spread of food (almost like buffet style) and we are allowed to take whatever we want. Well, here’s the catch: we have to pay for the food by weight. something different from what we have back in Singapore.

brazillian style: take and weigh concept

brazillian style: take and weigh concept

Extended hours at the workshop from today also means that we have less time to go out at night. however, this did not stop us from visiting the Japanese village in Sao Paolo.

A little bit on the history of Sao Paolo and how this whole “Japanese village” came about.

After the abolition of slavery (1888), São Paulo received increasing numbers of immigrants from Italy, Portugal, Germany and Spain. From 1908 to 1941, many Japanese immigrants arrived and formed the bulk of the Asian community in Sao Paolo. They resided mainly in Liberdade. It has also become home to the largest Japanese population outside of Japan. Although today most Japanese-Brazilians speak only Portuguese, some of them are still fluent in Japanese.

Aska, the name of the Japanese restaurant we were recommended, operates till 9.30pm everyday and we were lucky to be the last on the waiting list.

researching before the japanese adventure

researching before the japanese adventure

The few japanese eateries we saw along the way:

IMG_3826 IMG_3825 IMG_3824




open kitchen concept in aska

Open kitchen concept in aska

Jared and I at the japanese restaurant

Jared and I at the japanese restaurant

all these for 2 person

all these for 2 persons

Our Sao Paolo adventures continues…..

IDC Robocon – Day 7 – 5 days before the competition

15 Jul

By Glenn Sim

This is the final stretch before the competition and most groups are almost done with their robots. We went out to the electronic shop to get the items we needed for our robots. Compared our robotic hobby shops in Singapore, the ones in Sao Paolo really pales in comparison. There were many things which we required but couldn’t get and thus, had to resort to alternatives which didn’t really perform as well. Nonetheless, we managed to find most of the items we need.

We went to the city market nearby to have lunch before heading to the electronics store.

entrance of the city market

Entrance of the city market


Bacalhau (Portuguese pronunciation: [bɐkɐˈʎaw]) is the Portuguese word for cod

Bacalhau (Portuguese pronunciation: [bɐkɐˈʎaw]) is the Portuguese word for cod

fresh raw meat

Fresh raw meat

incredible amounts of fruits they have at the city market

Incredible amounts of fruits they have at the city market

electronic shop
Electronic shop

As the seeding and competition day draws nearer, we are all getting excited and anxious at the same time. Mixed feelings as we don’t want this awesome trip to end.