Kota Uchiyama, a student at Kanazawa Institute of Technology, led his university robot team to victory this year in an international competition in Vietnam and is already gearing up for a two-peat in 2014.

In August, two robots designed and built by Uchiyama's team won the 12th ABU Asia-Pacific Robot Contest (Robocon) in the city of Danang.

"I didn't do anything special as leader," Uchiyama, 20, said modestly. "The victory was due to all the team members."