Melbourne University RoboGals Competition.

I was lucky enough to be chosen as a finalist in the Melbourne University sponsored Australia-wide RoboGals competition. My airfares, accommodation and most meals for the weekend were paid for by GE Energy, and I want to say a really big thanks to GE Energy for their help.

I had to get up at 4:00 a.m. to catch the 6:00 a.m. plane to Melbourne - so early! I spent the morning with my Melbourne cousin Jessie who was competing with her school's rowing team. For breakfast, we had some delicious Yum Cha in Chinatown, and then left our bags at the hotel. This is my Mum, Jessie and me outside the Park Hyatt hotel.

Jessie Lu, Yaya Lu, Ying Chen, RoboGals competition 2011

The other finalists gathered at the hotel, and we caught one of the Melbourne trams to the GE building. This was a different experience for me, because we don't have trams in Hobart. To make sure we did not miss our stop, RoboGals had arranged a "surprise robot" to be at the destination tram stop - impossible to miss; see below!!!

Yaya Lu Robot RoboGals Awards Weekend 2011

We then went to GE's building for lunch at GE's canteen, followed by the awards ceremony in the GE auditorium. You can see the complete results here. The judges were most encouraging about my entry; Sally Dominguez "this is BRILLIANT", Bernie Hobbs "It's a great project!", Dr. Alberto Elfres "This is a remarkable science project." The senior awards were handed out by Andrea Boyle, HR Manager for GE Energy, assisted by Marita Cheng, Founder & Executive Director, RoboGals Global. Marita was to became the "Young Australian of the Year" in 2012. This is me with Marita.

Yaya Lu, Marita Cheng, Founder and Executive Director, RoboGals Gobal 2011

They were kind enough to give me first place in the Senior category.

Yaya Lu, first place, RoboGals 2011, senior category.

After the awards ceremony, we spent some time looking around Melbourne, passing some of the older means of transport:

Horse drawn carriage Melbourne RoboGals award weekend, Yaya Lu 2011

The Eureka tower is the tallest residential building in the Southern Hemisphere, and we viewed Melbourne from the 88th story. Below is Albert Park Lake,

Albert Park Lake RoboGals Awards Weekend Yaya Lu 2011

and some of the complicated road networks.

Mellbourne roads

I also went on "The Edge". This is a room with lower walls and floor you can't see through. It starts inside the building on the 88th floor, then goes out the side of the building in jerks as if something is wrong. Then suddenly you can see through the walls and floor and there seems to be nothing between your feet and the ground 88 stories below. Scary!

We had dinner at the Shark Fin Inn, which was really nice. We are talking to Joanna Shepherd (second from right) and her Mum. Joanna did a really neat experiment on organic and non-organic food

I had to leave a bit earlier than some of the others, because I was so tired from my early start that I nearly fell asleep at the table... On Sunday we had breakfast at the Park Hyatt and continued our tours, first going to the Melbourne Aquarium; where we saw a huge octopus:

Octopus, Melbourne Aquarium, RoboGals Award weekend, 2011, Yaya Lu

and even bigger shark jaws:

Shark Jaws, Melbourne Aquarium, RoboGals Award weekend, Yaya Lu

some weird fish:

some pretty fish and some stingrays, and pretended to pat one...

Yaya Lu stingray RoboGals award weekend 2011

saw some fish being fed, and looked at some really cool penguins...

Next, going to Scienceworks, we caught the Christmas Tram, which included carols... At Explore-a-Saurus we tried being a pretend archaeologist uncovering fossils:

Yaya Lu playing at being an archaeologist scienceworks RoboGals award weekend 2011

Camouflaging ourselves with stripes like a Zebra:

Yaya Lu camouflage Scienceworks RoboGals award weekend 2011

looked at big moving robot dinosaurs:

and took some fun photos...

Yaya Lu Explorosaurus Scienceworks RoboGals award weekend 2011

Last we tried Sciencework's wheelchair race.

WheelChair Race Yaya Lu RoboGals weekend 2011

Pushing a wheelchair is really hard work. Notice me slowing down? Personal experience makes my project ideas of controlling a motorised wheelchair now seem even more important...

Overall the RoboGals weekend was a fantastic experience. Thanks to Andrea Boyle and GE Energy for financing it, and to Marita Cheng and her RoboGals for organising it. Thanks also to my Mum for taking the photos & videos so my Dad (who had to work) could see it, and to my mentor for helping with this web page. If you are thinking of entering the RoboGals competition, I can certainly recommend it.

Yaya Lu.

YayaLu.net - Some of my robots - 2011