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Children compete against each other with robots

Robots, nervous looks and above all, lots of fun. On November 16, children up to 16 years old came together for the MakeX competition. With this robot contest, in which children program their own robots, children are made enthusiastic about technology and programming.

Opening by Tessa Verhoef

'When I started my education in Artificial Intelligence, I always had to explain what I was doing. Time really has changed. Everything around us is influenced by computer science and Artificial Intelligence,' says Tessa Verhoef, assistant professor in the Media Technology program of the Leiden Institute of Advanced Computer Science (LIACS). 'It is great to see that you're so interested in technology and programming at such a young age.' She kicks off the day with a speech about her reasons for studying Artificial Intelligence. She also talked about her work at LIACS, her research at Lowlands with Max van Duijn and the Media Technology Lab.

Rules of the contest

Twelve teams of two participated in the game with their pre-programmed mBot. The teams were different students of Twents Carmel College, Stedelijk Gymnasium Schiedam, Lumion Amsterdam and Roncalli Mavo.

The robot then had to perform various tasks independently, such as moving blocks, switching switches and completing a course. Madelon Rietveld, educational developer at WisMon, refreshes the memory of the participants with a short explanation of the rules of the game. For example, the participants are not allowed to touch the robot without the referee's permission. 


The pre-programmed robot had to pass the inspection before participants could start the competition. A team of experts weighs the robot and evaluates the logbook that the participants had kept.

Practice makes perfect

Before the start of the competition, there is room to make the last modifications. Computers are present to make small adjustments to the program and participants can practise with the course that the robot has to follow.

The contest

Tension among the participants as their robots takes the course. The team receives points when the robot sweeps objects of the track. When the robot is off course the participants can ask for permission to move the robot to another spot on the track. 

The outcome

After an inspiring and competitive day, the prizes are awarded. Team Techno-Tank of the Twents Carmel College wins the first place in the competition and goes to China to compete in the final.

The MakeX event is a robot competition organised by Eurofysica. Eurofysica's mission is to motivate and inspire students and professionals in education with innovative, high-quality learning tools that enable them to achieve faster and better learning results. As an educational partner, WisMon has supported teachers and students before and during MakeX. With this competition, they hope to contribute to making students enthusiastic about technology and programming.

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