Universidad Europea de Madrid (SPAIN)
About this paper:
Appears in: EDULEARN23 Proceedings
Publication year: 2023
Pages: 7983-7993
ISBN: 978-84-09-52151-7
ISSN: 2340-1117
doi: 10.21125/edulearn.2023.2071
Conference name: 15th International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies
Dates: 3-5 July, 2023
Location: Palma, Spain
Robot competitions and contests are increasingly popular. Well-established competitions and contests include the RoboGames, RoboCup, RoboCupRescue, RoboCup@Home, or the European ELROB event, to cite a few. All these competitions aim to bring together robotics research community to show their last research and technological achievements.

In education context, academic community is also witnessing during the last years the proliferation of international robotics competitions in pre-university and university levels.
Some of the most representative ones are the FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) robotics competitions, the World Robot Olympiad (WRO), the VEX robotics competitions (VRC), or ASTI Robotics Challenge. All these competitions and events bring together young people all over the world to develop their creativity, problem solving skills, and other transversal competencies through challenging tasks. There are also robotics events and competitions local to countries and/or universities. For example in the U.S, the national robotics week (NRW). CEABOT is a humanoid contest organized by Spanish Committe of Automatics for Spanish Universities.

From educational perspective, robot competitions and contests help students to appreciate engineering design and development involved in the construction of robotics systems. They also permit inter-disciplinary education in several engineering areas as well as integrating different technologies. Indeed, designing a robot, even a simple one, helps students to learn how to integrate mechanical structure with actuators and sensors as well as how to program microcontrollers and so on. The experience in designing and building a robotics system leads, not only the acquisition of technical knowledge, but also empowers the development of transversal competencies and skills, such as problem solving, teamwork, time management, project management, entrepreneurship, innovation and creativity.

In this paper, the “Laureate award for excellence in robotics engineering” is presented. The contest is open to undergraduate students enrolled in Laureate International Universities network, a global network of 80 higher education institutions. Students must design a mobile robot to achieve a specific challenge that changes each year. The goals of the contest are (a) empower the global mindset of Laureate students, (b) promote engineering schools in Laureate institutions, and (c) connect Laureate universities at different levels: managers, teachers and students.

This paper, firstly, gives the Laureate robotics contest scope and objectives, and then describes the first four editions. Afterwards, logistic problems, contest assessment, conclusions as well as actions to be taken in future similar events are addressed.

From educational viewpoint, the paper concludes that this competition has served not only to inspire students to work as independent teams, but also to create an environment of cooperation between the different teams exchanging views and experiences at educational as well as cultural levels. A cuantitative and cualitative analysis is made. As main results, 98% of participant students are satisfied with the experience. Students consider an unforgettable personal experience travelling to another country and interacting with many students from several countries. Some students declared their intention to enroll in an engineering master program related to robotics systems.
Robotics, engineering, contest, higher education.