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China Seizes 3 Golds in Fire-fighting Robot Contest

A Chinese team on Sunday garnered three gold medals in the 13th Annual Trinity College Fire-Fighting Home Robot Contest in Hartford, Connecticut.


The contest, held annually in Trinity College, is the biggest event for home robot enthusiasts worldwide. More than 100 robots from five countries entered this year's competition, with 15 of them from China.


Du Tengfei and Dong Xiaojun, both students from Shanghai, won golds respectively in the junior and high school entry categories. Pan Yaojun, a teacher from Shanghai, seized the title in the expert category.


Chinese robots made its first international debut in the 2001 Hartford contest, snatching two golds, and then won three golds in the 2003 contest.


Xin Yingjie, leader of the 25-member Chinese team, said this year's competition was more challenging for contestants after adoption of harsher rules like the addition of stairs and carpets to make the movement of wheel-driven robots more difficult.


The competition involves computerized, not remote-controlled robots. Participants were required to control their robots through computer to move through a model 4-bedroom apartment, find and extinguish a lit candle that represents the fire as quickly as possible. The competition was meant to simulate the real-world operation of a robot performing a fire protection function in an actual home.


Xin noted that back in 2003, robotics contest at the national level was still non-existent, while today nationwide robotics soccer contests are become increasingly popular with Chinese youngsters. Currently, more than 100 robotics laboratories have been set up across the country.


Since 2003, China has been exporting robots for educational purposes to the US, South Korea, some Southeast Asian nations and Europe.


(Xinhua News Agency April 11, 2006)


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