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Saturday, September 26, 2009

8th Philippine Robotics Olympiad at SM North

Some of the brightest students from over 300 public and private schools nationwide went head-to-head at the 8th Philippine Robotics Olympiad (PRO) Wednesday and Friday, showcasing a wide array of robots that could perform a variety of tasks – from singing and dancing to braiding and etching – and that also looked good too while doing the tasks.

Held at the SM North Annex in Quezon City, the PRO encouraged students to come up with robots that were not just functional but also aesthetically pleasing, with points awarded to robots that performed tasks with “a synergy of artistry, ingenuity, and scientific flair."

“The students have been able to bring a lot of creative elements into their work," President and CEO of FELTA Multimedia Mylene Abiva said. “This comes at a very good time for the country, because the Philippines has been privileged to host the World Robot Olympiad in 2010," she added.

FELTA is the main organizer of the PRO in partnership with the Science Education Institute of the Department of Science and Technology (SEI-DOST) with support from the Department of Education (DepEd).

All the robots in the Olympiad were assembled from mostly just Lego blocks and Lego’s own Mindstorms robotics parts and software. Lego Mindstorms is a highly popular educational tool used to teach kids the basic concepts of robotics.

The system features a programmable central processor that can be linked to a variety of sensors and motors, enabling the construction of robots that are able to actively interact with their environment.

The Olympiad featured a grueling Iron Robot Triathlon for elementary school students and a Robot Match for high school students, featuring robots that could navigate obstacle courses with uneven terrain, throw balls, and carry light cargo.

In the Iron Robot Triathlon, Claret School of Quezon City brought home first place with a perfect score. Grace Christian College and Nemesio Yabut Elementary School won second and third place, respectively.

In the Robot Match, first place went to Philippine Science High School in Bicol. Second place went to the Science and Technology Center of Cebu (STEC), and third place went to Christian College.

For the Open Category, Grace Christian College and First Asia Institute of Technology and Humanities won first and second place in the Elementary School category. For High School, Doctor Yanga’s College took home the grand prize with a top score of 93.44%, while second place went to Makati Science High School.

All the first and second place winners of the 8th PRO will be part of the Philippine Robotics Team, and will represent the country at the prestigious World Robotics Olympiad 2009 in Gyeongbuk Pohang, Korea, this November.

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