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NTHU Students Win 2023 NARLabs Smart Machinery Competition

Scientific instruments are indispensable for conducting experiments, and therefore, their technology can be said to be the foundation of scientific research. The National Science and Technology Council (NSTC) is proactively nurturing talent in self-made instrumentation. NARLabs' Taiwan Instrument Research Institute (TIRI), in its implementation of NSTC policy, collaborated with the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) Taiwan Section to hold the NARLabs Smart Machinery Competition as part of ASME's Student Professional Development Conference (SPDC). The competition attracted budding experts from universities and college-level institutions across Taiwan, who gathered on March 11 at the National Sun Yat-sen University College of Engineering to test their skills in robotics. In the end, first place in the design competition and NT$50,000 was awarded to the team DIT Robotics from National Tsing Hua University (NTHU), while first place in the speech competition and NT$10,000 was awarded to Chao Chiao-hsuan, also representing NTHU.

The theme of the NARLabs Smart Machinery Competition is chosen by ASME. Competition themes are both diverse and practical, with the aim of inciting students to put their theoretical knowledge to use alongside hands-on skills in order to create innovation. This year's theme was "Harvesting the Sun and Wind Again," an advanced version of the 2021 competition theme. Teams were required to build a robotic device that collects and uses solar and/or wind energy to transport weights from a loading zone to an unloading platform within a specified time frame. This year, the arena was changed from flat to sloping to add a new level of challenge to the competition.

Teams were able to choose the robot's route and decide the number of deliveries and weight carried per trip. In addition to their robot's speed and carrying capacity, teams also had to consider how to effectively store and utilize wind or solar energy to power the robot forward, testing their ability to apply scientific knowledge to machine design. First place team DIT Robotics from NTHU effectively utilized solar and wind energy for power conversion and precise directional controls. Their robot not only had excellent carrying capacity, but the team also fully grasped the competition theme. Second and third place were awarded to teams from Feng Chia University and National Yang Ming Chiao Tung University, respectively.

The competition also featured a speech contest which required students to speak in English on machine-related topics, with the judges focusing on students' ability to analyze and share their knowledge. First place was awarded to Chao Chiao-hsuan from NTHU, whose calm and collected air and methodical analysis of the topic won high praise from the judges. Second place was awarded to Chang Chen-wei from NTHU, who presented unique insights which caught the judges' attention.

The NARLabs Smart Machinery Competition provides a platform for the exchange of domestic instrumentation technology and guides students to generate creative ideas and integrate functions in machine technology. This year, some of Taiwan's leading instrumentation companies supported the competition, including Syntec Technology, Mitutoyo Taiwan, Gallant Micro Machining, Contrel Technology, HIWIN, Calin Technology, ThinTech Materials Technology, Advocating Yi Technology, and Showa Precision. Through this international student competition, we encourage local students to participate in global activities and enhance their international outlook, jointly cultivating a new generation of talent in self-made instrumentation which will become the force that spurs the upgrade of industrial technology and increases international competitiveness.