POSTECH (Pohang University of Science & Technology), one of the most respected research universities in Korea, is hosting the 2009 Robot Olympiad this weekend (November 6th~8th), an event which brings together 250 teams from 32 countries (sadly, it appears that North America doesn’t participate). This will be the 6th Olympiad and the first to take place in Korea (last year it was held in Yokohama, Japan). Besides the main competitions and events, 16 Korean robots including POSTECH’s own PHOPE and Genibo (Dasarobot’s robo dog) and approximately 60 companies in total will be exhibiting their robots.
In the Regular Category, teams are broken up into Elementary, Junior High, and High School divisions and are only allowed to use LEGO Mindstorms kits. The Elementary students will compete in the Iron Robot Triathlon, where a robot works its way through a maze and shoots a ping pong ball into a goal. Junior High school students compete in Robot Match, where robots must collect ping pong balls and bring them back to base camp. High School students compete in Robot Pocketball, where robots pass over an obstacle and push colored balls into same-color pockets. All of the teams have only 2 minutes to complete the mission objective and only one shot at it.
This year’s Open Category theme is “Art and Robots” with the tag line “Dreaming of Robot, Desire of Human” – contestants must build a robot that best represents the theme.