9-year-old participates in robotic competition

9-year-old participates in robotic competition

Iranian youngster has been honing her robotic abilities on a football table, as part of the University of Wollongong Dubai’s annual robotic competition.

By Staff Reporter

Published: Tue 13 May 2014, 11:57 PM

Last updated: Tue 7 Apr 2015, 8:43 PM

Marzie Abdian may be only 9 years old, but she already has the most adult of dreams — she hopes to build robots that can detect and remove cancerous cells.

Marzie Abdian during a tense game of robot football at the University of Wollongong Dubai’s annual robotic competition at the Meydan. — KT photo by Amanda Fisher

For now, the Iranian youngster has been honing her robotic abilities on a football table, as part of the University of Wollongong Dubai’s annual robotic competition.

The 80-team gladiatorial battle, comprising about 200 youngsters between ages of four and 18 — half of whom are from Dubai and half from Iran — took place at the Meydan Imax complex on Monday, where the first Robot Technology Exhibition (RTEX) was the main event.

RTEX may have been the anchor event, but the robot competition was certainly louder, with teammates and parents vocally encouraging participants from the sidelines — among them, Marzie’s mum Sodabeh Valipour.

“(Marzie) loves this sport, and robotics ... she has an idea and followed that idea and then came here.”

Marzie, who attends Ibrahim Nobar School in Sari, has been learning robotics for two years and was recently placed third in a 2,000-strong Iranian robot fighting competition. She spends about 10 hours each day fine-tuning her skills.

She was just focusing on robot football, one of the seven events on offer including traffic negotiation, stair-climbing and pool, as there was no robot fighting on offer.

“I want to invent a robot in the future to cure the cancer inside the body, and find the cancer cells and (eradicate them).”

She’s well aware of the lengthy university stint she will be in for, hoping to train in both medicine and robotic engineering.

“I love it.”

When Marzie spoke with Khaleej Times she had won one out of two games, with one left to play which would decide whether she progressed to the finishing rounds.

“I’m feeling confident, definitely.”

Competition organiser Dr Nidhal Abdulaziz, a UOWD Faculty of Engineering and Information Sciences Association Professor, said the competition was a way to promote sciences among youngsters.

“We usually run it every year to attract students from high school into studying at our university.”

The top prizes on offer for the high school entrants were faculty scholarships worth between Dh50,000 and Dh60,000, though for the younger entrants cash prizes of up to Dh600 were the rewards.

There was also an ‘open’ category where entrants displayed their robot models to a panel of judges, and answered various questions, which was also open to university students.

But the main motivation was to get the younger kids hooked on science, Abudlaziz said.

“(We want) to involve the little ones with such activities and encourage them to study computers, engineering and sciences — and also it’s ... marketing for our university.”

The names of winners were not available at the time Khaleej Times went to print.

RTEX, which has drawn in 200 delegates from around the region, was a precursor to the main event in September, which will also be held at The Meydan.


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