CCA Previews ’17: Club Automatica

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By Clarence Lee Sheng (17S06D), Chairperson and Yan Wei (17S06G), Vice-Chairperson

Does news of self-driving cars excite you? Do stories of artificial superintelligence keep you up all night? Do you wish to build the world’s first Gundam?

If so, do we have the CCA for you.

Club Automatica is the premier (and only) robotics club in Raffles. It is here that we conceptualise and create robots to do our bidding, be it playing high-octane football or performing meticulous rescue operations. They can be built from materials as simple as plastic LEGO pieces, or as cutting-edge (literally, these things are mighty sharp) as custom-built steel plates. If that doesn’t sound exciting enough, how about having an extremely spacious clubroom, or the most extensive collection of tools in school, complete with an actual drill press? Whatever it is that interests you, be prepared to have your wits and will tested to their limits when you join Club Automatica.

One of our two soccer robots at Robocup International 2016. Mind the edges!

Our vision in Club Automatica is simple – to create robots that work. However, as many of us have realised, this is an impossible task. Yet we persist, because while perfection may be unattainable, improvement is always possible. Commitment, patience, and a good dose of creativity are just some of the things we love to see in our members. This is because the process of learning in Club Automatica is unlike anything that you would have had in school. The problems you face will not have answers written neatly in a textbook. It is up to you to research possible solutions, implement them into your robot, test rigorously, and modify your solutions accordingly. Repeat until exhaustion.

Each session of Automatica typically consists of building robots and attachments, troubleshooting and debugging of code, as well as consistent testing of robots. Nearing the competition period, weekly sessions become daily. Afternoons stretch into nights. And while all of this may seem tiring at first, our members can attest to that feeling of ecstasy when they finally see their robots working for the first time, before promptly breaking down again. Through this process of shared struggle and accomplishment, we bond with those we work with and form friendships like none before.

DiCaprRIo, the robot that brought home RI’s first RoboCupJunior Rescue Line champion trophy

Due to the countless days spent outside the clubroom and the unyielding effort we put into our robots, we managed to clinch First Place at RoboCupJunior Rescue Line Singapore 2016. However, there are no limits to what you can accomplish in Club Automatica. When inspiration strikes you, feel free to pick up the nearest LEGO brick or soldering iron and get to work. If you wish to take part in an exhilarating journey of robotics, look no further than Club Automatica.

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