RoboRoarZ: Singapore’s First Reconfigurable Robotics Competition, Sparking Youth Interest in Robotics

08 May 2023

To explore and harness the potential of autonomous cleaning robots, 90 students from 19 secondary schools, junior colleges, institutes of technical education and tertiary institutions competed in the second edition of RoboRoarZ on 29 and 30 April 2023 at the Singapore University of Technology and Design (SUTD).
RoboRoarZ is Singapore’s first reconfigurable robotics competition which seeks to promote robotics to youths and  establish a vibrant international robotics community through the use of innovative shape-shifting robots in solving real-world challenges.
The cleaning sector has seen a growing labour crunch in recent years. Shape-shifting robots, or reconfigurable robots, might be the answer to augment our workforce in the cleaning and maintenance industry. Reconfigurable robots can autonomously change shape and adapt optimally to a specific task or environment. This can help to enhance workers’ productivity and safety in cleaning and maintenance work that may involve hard-to-reach or even hazardous areas. Based off this, the inaugural RoboRoarZ addresses the theme of area coverage in reconfigurable cleaning robots.
In this 2-day event, participants attended three workshops which introduced them to basic robotic concepts including design thinking, logical reasoning and programming..
Participants from different educational levels and diverse backgrounds were matched into mixed groups in the spirit of collaboration and peer-learning, also emulating a real-world co-working environment.
Each team was also issued a Smorphi, an SUTD-designed educational robot that is modular, programmable and reconfigurable. They were then tasked with redesigning and programming Smorphi to navigate and clean a designated space, while ensuring maximum area covered in the deployed space.

Organising chair of RoboRoarz and SUTD’s Engineering Product Development (EPD) Associate Professor Mohan Rajesh Elara giving the closing address.
“Usually cleaning robots come in a fixed shape and are only able to clean up to 70 percent of a designated area. Conversely, reconfigurable robots are able to change their shapes according to the space layout and in turn, cover a wider cleaning area. Through this competition, students were able to learn how to assemble and programme a reconfigurable cleaning robot,” explained organising chair of RoboRoarZ and SUTD’s Engineering Product Development (EPD) Associate Professor Mohan Rajesh Elara.

First Place: Prof Quek Tong Boon, Chief Executive, National Robotics Programme (Left) with the team comprising Ishneet Sukhvinder Singh (Temasek Junior College), Ritvik Rishikesan (Yuva Bharathi International School), Low Jun Hong Caleb (Singapore Polytechnic), Avvyukt Singh (NPS International School), Shrivastava Arjuna Sachin (Yuva Bharathi International School) and Ang Wee Kiat Darren (SUTD).
Covering 44.25% of the total designated area, ‘Team 11’ comprising students from NPS International School, Singapore Polytechnic, Temasek Junior College, Yuva Bharathi International School, and SUTD won the First Place prize. The robots programmed by the Second Place and Third Place winners covered 37.33% and 32.58% of total designated area respectively.
Led by SUTD and the National Robotics Programme (NRP), the national competition was initially planned for a single run which was held in March 2023. Having received a total of 250 registrations, which exceeded the quota by three times, the competition was eventually held over two runs to accommodate more participants (a total of 175 students from 24 schools).
Second Place: Prof Ricky Ang, Associate Provost for International Relations, SUTD (left) with the team comprising Evan Joseph Lijo (NPS International School), Shounak Kamat (NPS International School), Seow Kit Hint (Singapore Polytechnic), Manan Rarjan (GIIS Punggol), Chellapandian Madheysh Selvan (Yuva Bharathi International School), Aung Kyaw Zin (SUTD).
Third Place: Mr Sunardi Tay, Chief Technology Officer, Lionsbot International (Left) with the team comprising Mahesh S Kunalan (Singapore Polytechnic), Mahi Mistry (Yuva Bharathi International School), Chia Hwe Huang (SUTD), Pragatheesh Gnanamoorthy (Yuva Bharathi International School), Adrian Chan Siang Ji (Singapore Polytechnic), Arya Bhardwaj (NPS International School).
Innovation Award: Prof Michael Budig, CEO and Executive Director, Wefaa Robotics (Centre) with team comprising Lee Han Wei, Joshua (SUTD), Akshay Muraleedharan (School of Science and Technology, Singapore), Tanishka Deshmukh (Yuva Bharathi International School), Gurmanjit Singh (Yuva Bharathi International School), Qian Yuhao (Singapore Institute of Technology), Yong Zi Xiang (Institute of Technical Education, West).
List of Participating Institutions:

  • Anderson Serangoon Junior College 
  • Assumption English School 
  • Catholic Junior College 
  • DPS International School 
  • Eunoia Junior College 
  • Global Indian International School 
  • ITE Central 
  • ITE East 
  • ITE West 
  • Nanyang Polytechnic 
  • Nanyang Technological University
  • National Public School International 
  • National University of Singapore  
  • Ngee Ann Polytechnic 
  • Northbrooks Secondary School
  • Raffles Institution 
  • School of Science and Technology, Singapore  
  • Serangoon Garden Secondary School 
  • Singapore Institute of Technology 
  • Singapore Polytechnic 
  • Singapore University of Technology and Design 
  • Temasek Junior College 
  • Victoria Junior College 
  • Victoria School