Feeling of triumph

ABU DHABI — As the eighth edition of the International World Robot Olympiad (WRO) in Abu Dhabi wrapped up on Sunday, with some participants jubilant and others despondent for not bagging any prize, a feeling of triumph lingered.

By Olivia Olarte

Published: Tue 22 Nov 2011, 11:54 PM

Last updated: Tue 7 Apr 2015, 10:38 AM

For the UAE, and the Abu Dhabi Education Council (ADEC) in particular, which hosted the event, this is a testament that the WRO can be held successfully outside of Southeast Asia, and by an Arab country at that.

At the closing day of the competition, Dr Mugheer Khamis Al Khaili, Director General of the ADEC said the Abu Dhabi edition has “reached (WRO Advisory Council) expectations.”

In his proposal to host the 2011 WRO, he had said that Abu Dhabi is a good venue to bring the Olympiad “out of Asia to the world (through) the Middle East to encourage (robotics) competition worldwide.”

WRO Advisory Council Chairman Eugene Zhang was very pleased.

“Of course it did,” said Zhang. “It exceeded (expectations) in every way. It has been one of the best organised events in the history of WRO. The biggest event in the history of WRO and it has been really fantastic. I think all the team members have a memorable experience here. We will cherish it,” he told Khaleej Times.

More than 1,500 students and 380 teams from over 35 countries showed off their technical designing and programing skills at the event. As the winners were announced on Sunday, mixed expressions of joy, cheers and tears thundered the exhibition hall at the Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre (ADNEC).

The competition included the WRO GEN II Robot Football, Open and Regular Categories, and the Green City Challenge where students competed according to their levels — elementary, junior high and high school.

At the Open Category, participants were asked to develop and present a robotic solution that would assist in improving the lives of humans.

At the Regular Category, specific rules were given relating to a particular mission.

The Green City Challenge was a new addition to this year’s WRO that focused on areas of renewable energy.

The team from Al Reqa Children’s Centre in Sharjah which won the Green City Challenge in the elementary category was very happy and proud of its achievement.

“I’ve learned some new things throughout the whole competition. This is my first time, and the first world competition for me,” expressed Ali Hussain Al Awadi, 13.

His teammate, Sultan Mohamed Al Owais, 11, was equally proud to learn how to write and program and create a robot. Sixth Sense, the team from Our Own High School, which won the Open Category Technical Award team developed a solution for amputees by developing robotic prosthetic limbs.

The team Sts-Shahama from the Secondary Technical School in Shahama was placed eighth in the overall Open Category for high school students for its cost-effective automated wheelchair using robotic technology.

Natasha Wong, 11, a member of the Eco Recytech team from Malaysia which had won second in the overall Open Category (elementary) last year, said she was a bit sad for not getting the overall award this time. “But it’s still a good experience for me,” she said. “At least I got something.”

Her team members Bryan Chen, 10, and Phileas Mah, 11, who joined the robotics competition for the first time this year however were very ‘happy, excited and proud’ about their awards.

Expectations were also high for Claire Receli Renosa, 14, from the Philippines’ DYCI (Dr Yanga’s Colleges Incorporated) team. She shed tears when her team did not make it to the top three of the overall award in the Open Category. Her team last year had bagged the top prize.

The third-year student and her two team members spent eight months designing and programing their three robots for the competition — MAGIS or man’s all around global interactive solution which doubles as a cash dispensing machine and a blood pressure reader, among others; Amicus a friendly robot who plays tic-tac-toe and a robot puppy which activates the flood alarm.

“I hope I’m still in the group. Next year I may need to focus more on my studies, as I am running for valedictorian,” Claire said.

WRO is the largest international robotic competition for students who compete in teams to assemble robots that will to solve a specific problem. The WRO platform allows young students to learn and apply their knowledge in science, engineering, math and computer programing to build an intelligent robot. —olivia@khaleejtimes.com

And the winners are ...

Overall champions (Open Category): Wembro of South Korea (elementary), Roboticians SmkUsj4 from Malaysia (junior high) and Streetlight Changer of China (high school)

Overall champions (Regular Category): Uneven Road of Taiwan (elementary), Maximum of South Korea (junior high) and YTH50 Endless Evolution of Japan (high school).

Technical Award (Open Category): Sixth Sense from Our Own High School, (gold winner, high school). The team also came seventh in the overall Open Category winners.

Creativity and Technical Awards (Open Category): Eco Recytech from Malaysia for their robot ‘Aeverm’ – the world’s first two-in-one autonomous ecological vending and recycling machine.

Green City Challenge (Elementary): Al Reqa Team, UAE (First); Fairies, UAE (Second) and Al Nahda Junior Girls 1,UAE (Third).

Green City Challenge (Junior High School): P-Wit Genuis 1, Thailand (First); Nefafa Been Al Kethar, UAE, (Second) and GC3, UAE (Third).

Green City Challenge (High School): Zayed-GC, UAE (First); Energetic Team, UAE (Second) and Surattani Club, Thailand (Third).

More news from