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Vol. XXVI, 4th Quarter
October – December 2008
RP elementary students bag silver in World Robot Olympiad

THREE FILIPINO ELEMENTARY STUDENTS, underscoring the urgency to stem the declining global environment earned the silver medal in the World Robot Olympiad‘s open category recently in Yokohama, Japan.

The silver medal came with a certificate and LEGO trophy. The winning team includes Joseph Aldrin Chua (Grade 6) and Edrich Hans Chua and Dominique Hannah Sy (both Grade 5). They are all from Grace Christian Elementary School, besting 21 other schools.

Entitled “Green Whiz Community and the G-Tech Robot Engineering a Better World,” the Filipino students’ entry features 12 robots doing various tasks to help save the environment. The feat is the first of its kind for Filipino elementary students. The team was coached by Melanie Tizon and Warren John Ong Pe.

Tizon said the team used several robots to underscore the urgency to save the environment, and that technology could be used to stop the degradation of the world’s environment.

The robots include Next Gen Car, a lightweight hydrogen powered car for the next generation; H2O Treatment Robot, designed to filter waste water from a factory for safe disposal; E-Sorter, a robot that sorts biodegradable and non-biodegradable garbage using color coded containers; Paper Recycling Area, a factory robot that recycles used paper into usable items; Iced Sub-Zero Robot, which makes melted ice in the polar region back into ice form; and Forest Surveillance Robot, which has a built in camera that guards forests and waterfalls from illegal loggers and hunters.

Other robots used in the competition were AD Robot, a robot at mountaintop that advertises the importance of planting trees to save the earth; Air Pollution Monitor Robot, capable of monitoring the level of carbon dioxide and other pollutants; CO2 Sequester E3K, a robot designed to sequester carbon dioxide spewed by factories; E-Card, which is used as switch on and off household appliances; Heliostatic mirrors, a robot equipped with mirrors that follow the light of the sun and magnify it as an alternative source of light, and; WM 123, which are windmill robots that serve as alternative source of energy for the community.

Meanwhile, students from Benigno Aquino High School, and the International School of Manila also received certificates for being 6th placers in the open category for High School and Primary Levels, respectively.

Gold medals for the open category went to Malaysia, Taiwan, and South Korea for the Senior High School, Junior High School, and Primary Levels, respectively.

In the regular category, South Korea clinched the gold medals for the primary and junior high school levels, while Sweden romped off with the top prize for the senior high school level.

Moreover, South Korea picked up three gold medals, Singapore wrapped up a silver and bronze, and Malaysia took a gold, silver, and two bronze medals for the entire event.

In the open category, the students were tasked to create robots within the theme “Saving the Global Environment”, which are judged based on appearance, uniqueness, interactive behavior, good engineering, and stability. Team members must successfully demonstrate, explain well, and project high team spirit.

Science Education Institute Director Ester B. Ogena said the Philippine team’s triumph is a proof that Filipino students are at par with international counterparts.

“Our students have shown their best and given more opportunities like these, we could tap more potential in the field of robotics,” she said.

Ogena vowed to increase support in robotics as it takes the lead, together with FELTA Multi-media, in preparing for the staging of the 2010 WRO in the Philippines.

“Preparations are underway for this grand event and we are very excited with the privilege that we would be hosting the WRO two years from now,” she said.

Ogena said the WRO is a good training ground for future engineers who would like to improve the way of living in the world through robotics.

“Our end goal in supporting the WRO is to entice our students to venture into science careers and beef up the critical mass of scientists and engineers our country needs”.