Current Events is arguably the most relevant game theme that BEST has ever released. It handles real world problems that the competitors can actually see playing out on the world stage. The game covers the crisis happening with the overwhelming amount of litter and trash that is ending up in our oceans. This trash has flowed with the ocean currents into four distinct spots; the islands created by garbage in these spots are called gyres.
BEST defines a gyre as “a naturally occurring vortex of wind and currents...where marine plastic debris collects” (2018 BEST Competition Rules 29). The purpose of the competition this year is to create a robotic prototype that is capable of working together with two human assistants and is controlled by a human operator. The entire team would need to assist the robot in removing the trash from the Indian, Atlantic, and two Pacific Ocean Gyres and forming it into blocks that will be utilized in creating an artificial reef. They will also be responsible for aiding in the rescue and rehabilitation of sea turtles affected by the garbage and analysing the current flow. Each assistant has different obligations underneath these overall objectives.
The Field Engineer is responsible for receiving the trash the robot collects from the gyres and forming it into “reef blocks," 3-D printed blocks made up of similar trash that can be formed into artificial reefs. The robot will take the reef blocks that the Field Engineer assembles and place them in the correct position where they can benefit the wildlife. The Field Engineer will also analyze information from rubber duckies that have been through the gyres and hold information about the current flow. Working with other competitors to find out what information each ducky holds, the team will try to assess the current flow.
The Field Scientist’s role is to look after and handle the sea turtles that the robot rescues from the gyres. He or she will check the contents of the stomach of the rescued turtle and remove any harmful substances from inside. Then, the Field Scientist will communicate to the robot operator the type of trash that was found in the turtle so that the team can work harder to remove that specific garbage.
All of these components need to work together to show the diversity and flexibility of the most important aspect of the game: the robot. The robot must be capable of many different tasks, and it must be able to complete them all simultaneously. Now that we have examined the game theme and its details, let’s look at why Robocon’s robot is your best choice, in Our Robot.
Additional Information about the Game Theme can be found with the New York Post, NOAA, and bESTology.