zdi robot competition in the Open Robot category

Vacuum robots, automated ventilation and movable solar cells – that's how creative the students were at the zdi robot competition in the Open Robot category. The last zdi robot competition this year took place at the Burggymnasium in Essen on October 27, 2023. Student teams presented their robotics solutions for this year's thematic focus Sustainable energy economy.

This article presents the winning teams and their ideas.

The autonomous vacuum robot

The EcoBot team from the Waldorf School in Mülheim an der Ruhr won first place. They have built and programmed an autonomous vacuum robot that detects and vacuums up cigarette butts on the ground, because they poison the groundwater. The team paid attention to sustainability during the construction. Some components were manufactured using a 1D printer, with the plastic made from recyclable corn starch.

A group of participants in the zdi robot competition stand around a table with a laptop.
Team EcoBot presents its robot to the jury
Two young men stand in front of a poster for the zdi robot competition.
Phil Jason Bieler and Joah Sundmacher with their vacuum robot / Photos: © zdi.NRW

Phil Jason Bieler and Joah Sundmacher found it a particular challenge to fine-tune the imaging sensors so that the robot can recognize exactly where something is.

Automated ventilation in classrooms

Second place went to the CastleRobotix2 team from Burggymnasium Essen. The team developed an automated ventilation system for classrooms. Based on measurements of the air, the CO2-Salary determined in the classroom. If this is too high, the windows will open automatically. The radiators are also regulated so that as little energy as possible is wasted.

The amount of work was quite extensive: the students estimated that they worked on the project for around 50 hours.

A table with a zdi robot competition Lego robots on it.
The windows (left) in the classroom are currently open. Automation does not disrupt lessons.
A group of young people pose with their robots at the zdi robot competition.
The CastleRobotix1 team with their classroom, in which the windows open and close automatically as needed / Photos: © zdi.NRW

Your tip: Shock ventilation is the most effective way to reduce CO2 levels in rooms!

What is Open Robot?

Students from all school types from the 5th grade onwards are called upon to identify a specific problem related to the zdi annual theme and to develop a suitable creative robot model. All robot construction systems, controllers and programming languages ​​are permitted. On the day of the competition, a jury evaluates the project idea and innovation, the technical concept and the robotic solution as well as the presentation and teamwork.

The solar cell of the future

The CastleRobotix3 team from Burggymnasium Essen won third place. This team thought about how solar cells could work even more effectively. The idea: we make the solar modules movable so that they can adapt even better to the movement of the sun. The students also connected several cells together so that the photovoltaic potential of the system can be significantly increased.

Two girls take part in the zdi robot competition.
Two teammates demonstrate the mobility of the solar cells
A group of young people participating in the ZDI robot competition pose with their laptops.
Team CastleRobotix2 with its innovative approach for more effective solar panels / Photos: © zdi.NRW

The team started their Open Robot project late and everyone agreed that there is still a lot of improvement to be made to their model. Nevertheless, the team is motivated and is already planning to take part in the zdi robot competition in 2024.

The team came together in the Robot AG CastleRobotix of the Burggymnasium Essen. Rosanna, 16 years old, hasn't been there long. She is enthusiastic about the robot group: “I enjoy what we learn in physics technology lessons and in the robot group much more than other subjects. Here I learn how things work!”
The high school has been successfully participating in the zdi robot competition since 2017.

Enthusiastic jury

Each team presented their idea to the two jury teams one after the other.
The jury members had the project ideas and technical details explained to them. Their evaluation criteria included, for example, the project idea and its innovative approach, the demands of the robotics solution or team collaboration.

Sophie Charlotte Keunecke, a doctoral candidate at the Institute for Gear Technology, Machine Dynamics and Robotics at RWTH Aachen University, was one of the jurors. “I am impressed by what the students have come up with. “It’s amazing what young people are thinking about and what they want to improve with robotics,” she said enthusiastically.

zdi robot competition 2024

Preparations for the 2024 competition are underway!
The theme for next year is: Smart Cities – Cities as a living space of the future.

Appointments, information and documents will soon be available for download on the zdi community platform.


You might also be interested in these posts

A group of people putting puzzle pieces together.

General, Under the magnifying glass

Under the microscope: youth participation at zdi

A man holds up a yellow paper with a note on it. The note says: More biodiversity on house facades.

General, Habitats of the future, Smart Cities

KReateFUTURE 2024

The image shows a screenshot from a Zoom call. Gwendolyn Paul can be seen on the left and Jiny Matty-Borlinghaus on the right.

General, Habitats of the future, girls promotion, Science League, Smart Cities

In the interview: Jiny Matty-Borlinghaus from the zdi center Oberhausen