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Curtin robots win fourth place on world-stage

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Three Curtin University students have placed fourth in the world in the iNexus international robotics competition, recently held at Techfest 2012, in India.

Winning the 2011 national Australian challenge, Curtin Bachelor of Computer Systems and Computer Science student Toby Scantlebury, Bachelor of Engineering student Zachary Oliver and Honours in Mathematical Sciences student Todd Hurst earned a place in the grand finale in Mumbai to compete against more than 20 universities from Sri Lanka and India for the iNexus crown.

Mr Oliver said his team’s robotics creation was designed to navigate around a black and white grid using an infrared line sensor.

“The challenge was for the robot to gather blocks to deliver to another automatic robot that would then go through a maze to deliver the blocks to set points,” Mr Oliver said.

“The robot did this by detecting blocks placed on the grid using its three infrared range sensors which could tell it how far away the blocks were.

“Using two grippers, it grabbed the blocks and moved them around the grid to complete the competition.”

Despite some small obstacles, Mr Hurst said his team’s robots were good enough to win them a spot in the international finals in Mumbai.

“For the finals, our grid robot was unchanged mechanically but the code was refined to make it run more smoothly and to fix some bugs. We added a few more sensors to the maze robot to get the diagonal turns working better,” Mr Hurst said.

“Although our maze robot still had a bit of difficulty navigating orthogonal lines, our grid robot was still able to collect the blocks, deliver them fast and not get off track.”

Mr Hurst said his team enjoyed their time overseas and appreciated the opportunity to see a range of innovative ideas from other universities.

“It was great to see the other teams having their robots run and to meet so many people interested in the same things,” he said.

“We saw a range of different methods from each team and it gave me a lot of new ideas to work on for next year.

“Mumbai was an interesting city and Techfest itself was packed with lots of fun competitions and information.”

Curtin University and Swinburne University of Technology were the only two Australian universities whose teams won a place in the January 2012 finals competition in Mumbai.

Running for 14 years, Techfest aims to promote technology, scientific thinking and innovation. The annual conference hosts competitions, cutting-edge technology displays, motivational speeches and workshops for students from around the world.

For further information on the iNexus competition, please visit:


Andrea Barnard, Public Relations, Curtin University
Tel: 08 9266 4241, Mob: 0401 103 755, Email:


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