I was a last minute addition to the MIT/USA team and didn’t have a lot of background knowledge of what IDC Robocon was going to be. Coming into it I didn’t have very high expectations, but boy have I been blown away. Everything here has been extremely well planned and executed, from picking us up at the airport (even when my flight was delayed!) to the very nice welcome dinner. The facilities at SUTD are beyond state of the art. The students here are very lucky to be able to have such easy access to technologies like 3D printers and laser cutters.

Conversing with everyone these past few days has made me realise how privileged I am to be a native English speaker. I am extremely impressed by the ways in which everyone in the competition has been able to innovate new ways to convey ideas with one another. Whether it’s explaining through engineering drawings or even using hand signs to order food in the cafeteria, it’s been a great learning experience in cross-cultural communication.

One of the most striking aspects of Singapore is the weather. Growing up in Texas (USA), I’m used to 37°C with 70% humidity. The big difference is the air conditioning, as every building and room in Texas has air-conditioning blasting 24/7 during the summer. Even if you’re not inside, you’re in a car with air conditioning since there are no sidewalks or public transportation. I’m still trying to fathom how people find it totally normal to wear pants outside here. I am seriously impressed.

My team has decided to call ourselves The Janitors since the competition has us cleaning up space. I think we are one of the strongest groups with students who have extensive experience in many fields ranging from electronics to rapid prototyping. I’m really excited to see where the rest of the week and a half take us and I can’t wait to see what sort of robots my team comes up with. Go Janitors!


Here’s a photo that I captured in Chinatown!

Rachel Reed

Massachusetts Institute of Technology

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