WE ROBOTS: Bangladeshi STUDENTS show off their robotic skills at FIRST Global Robotics Competition in Washington DC

Youths of Bangladesh have been participating in local and global robotics competitions for a while now. Mostly we have been seeing these events are being targeted for university students – students with some sort of engineering knowledge honing their programming and assembling skills in these skills. But that’s not always the case. Here you are about to read now is a bunch of high school seniors who took part in worlds one of the most highly anticipated robotics competition for 15- to 18-year-olds from 157 countries.

FIRST Global, is a US based non-profit organisation, that got global media attention for organising this- the world’s first international robot Olympics for high school students this July in Washington, D.C., which was attended by participants from 163 nations, including teams from almost every nation in Asia. The participants from Bangladesh Sujoy Mahmud of Mangrove School, Azman Islam & Adrian Dip Mohanta from Hurdco International School, Shah Saqeef Imam from Australian International School, Laleh-naz Bergman Hossain from Sunbeams School and the skipper of the team was Labib Tazwar Rahman of Academia School Dhaka. Mentor to the team was Mohammed Shams Jabber the Founder of The Tech Academy and was assisted by Shamsul Arefin Erfan.

The Bangladeshi contingent landed in Washington DC on July 15th, a day before the actual competition. They assembled their robots the entire day and took part in the events the next day. Their objective in the competition was to build a robot that can collect water and contaminant elements, differentiate between the two elements using an algorithm, and dispose them at separate places. In addition to that, there are bonus points if a robot can lift itself from the ground. And the best part is it isn’t a competition in a traditional sense. Rather it’s a co-opetition (cooperation + competition) and in each round, the team needs to form an alliance with 2 other national teams from around the world to compete against another alliance of 3 countries.

The competition consisted of 6 rounds and Bangladesh kicked off their journey with their name on the top of the scoreboard. Although that was short-lived, the guys ended up competing fiercely with rest of the world. At the end of the 6th round, Bangladesh ranked 80th amongst the 163 participants. When asked about how their experience was, Labib, who is returning to USA again this fall to join the class of 2017 at Stanford University, told the

daily star that it was the most intense and exciting competition they had ever attended. ‘On top of this, we decided on the night before our first round that we could make a more efficient robot. So without further ado, 6 jetlagged high school students and their 2 mentors made a new robot from scratch in just less than 24 hours’ he told without taking a breath. ‘No matter what our position was at the end of the competition, it was an eye opening experience for us’ he added.

Mentor Shams Jaber informed The Daily Star that the sheer joy of meeting people from countries you have never heard of before was- to say the least- unprecedented. Students from Iran, Palestine, Israel, and Afghanistan, keeping grown-up conflicts aside fused their technology and hearts together, Shams added.

Source: The Daily Star

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