THE Robotics team of young people, STEM Guyana, emerged on top of 165 countries at the end of the first day of the first Global Robotics Competition held on Monday, in Washington D.C.
The Guyanese team which comprised of teenagers aged 15-19, participated in three rounds of the robotics competition, each time in an alliance with two other teams from other countries. During each of the three rounds, STEM Guyana and its alliance members emerged victorious, thus allowing Guyana to cop the first position overall at the end of the first day.
At the end of the first round, Guyana had ranked eighth out of 165 countries after scoring 106 points, alongside teams from Cambodia and Europe, but this position dwindled to ninth after a setback in the second round. At the end of their third and final round for the first day of the competition, Guyana managed to climb to the top position.
The Team Captain, Ryan Benschop related that during the second round the team was unable to execute its original strategy, since they were faced with a late start due to a connection problem. Nevertheless, the team trooped through and then with a few seconds left for this round, the team managed to hold onto its winning streak.
For the First Global robotics competition, an alliance is created between three teams as they team up to battle in ‘H2O Flow’ against another alliance. The layout of the game is based on the model of two villages which exist on either side of a contaminated river. The villagers compete to create and store the purified water in their respective reserves. In a laboratory,the villagers try to purify clean water before it reaches the village and finally, each village prepares for the coming flood by searching for higher ground.
The ‘contaminated river’ is replicated by orange and blue balls; securing one blue ball earns one point while four points are allocated for securing the orange ball. The ‘villagers’ are the robots and three robots of three teams combine to form an ‘alliance’. In the end, the robots must try to elevate itself onto a bar which will earn 20 points for the team for each robot elevated to escape the oncoming flood.
The game was designed to devise solutions to the issue of depleting clean water reserves. Additionally, the competition seeks to build relationships among young leaders globally.
During the live stream of the competition, the commentators remarked on the distinctive design of the robot. While building the robot before their departure, Team Guyana visited kokers and other places to design the robot distinctively but effectively. The robot, named ‘Megathurium’, integrated the design of the koker doors, combine machines used in the rice fields and other indigenous systems.
The current emphasis being placed on Robotics in Guyana originated only about one year ago when the STEM/ Robotics camps were launched due to the interest shown by the First Lady, Sandra Granger and overseas-based Guyanese, Karen Abram.
While the Team has only been together for a few months, they have worked together diligently to ensure and perfect their robot and their skills. Today, the competition concludes and STEM Guyana will have to compete in another three rounds. The team representing Guyana will be seeking to secure the win and keep the Golden Arrowhead flying high.