Five kids set for robotics olympics in Mexico

Pune: A five-member team of Class XII students from the city have been selected to participate in the FIRST Global Robotics Olympics in Mexico later this year.
The competition, which has students of various age-groups competing to prove their skills in robotics, came into limelight last year when an all-girls team from Afghanistan was denied US visa till President Trump intervened and granted them permission to attend the event.

FIRST Global, a US-based, not-for-profit public charity, organises a yearly international robotics challenge. In 2018, the FIRST Global Challenge will be hosted in Mexico City between August 15 and August 18 at the Arena Ciudad de México. The theme this year is “Energy Impact” and the competition will explore the impact of different types of energies used and how we can make them more sustainable, says the charity’s official website.

“We went through various stages of the application process. First, we created a pitch video illustrating our experiences in several robotics competitions, like the FIRST Tech Challenge (2016, 2018) and the FIRST Lego League (2015, 2016). Then there were two interview rounds for the selection of Team India — one of them was to judge the team’s overall technical expertise and the other to enable the selection panel to know each team member and assess their commitment to this field and the competition,” said Vivek Shome from St Mary’s school. Shome is also the team lead.

Talking about their robot, Rayushka Sud, from St Mary’s, said, “In layman’s terms, it is a pick-and-drop robot. Depending on how efficiently the robot does the tasks, with minimum human interface, will determine how many points we get.”

“This is an opportunity for us to channel our passion, hone skills and make India proud. We are honoured to have been given this chance to be the face of India. We are determined to leave no stone unturned,” said Vaastav Varma from Pace Academy.

“We aim to spread awareness about STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics). We want to encourage the youth of India to develop an interest in robotics and change the perception of science,” said Anika Castellino from St Mary’s.
“As a majority of our team comprises girls, we will also inspire girls to recognise their potential and tap into it for the betterment of India — even in fields other than robotics and technology,” said Prerna Premchandra from St Mary’s.
The team is now looking for sponsors.

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