Team Chile returns from the robotics “World Cup” the FIRST Global Competition


Translated from Spanish.

Team Chile is the team that represented us from August 15 to 18 at Robotics “World Cup”, the 2018 FIRST Global Challenge, in Mexico City. This event brings together young people from more than 160 countries to solve energy efficiency problems with robots created by them.

Each year, student teams compete to build robots that can weigh up to 54 kilos. The teams are given a standard set of pieces and they are told the details of the game at the beginning of January. From there, they give themselves six weeks to build a competitive robot, which can operate autonomously, as well as when guided by Wireless controls to perform the tasks of the game.

In the 2018 version of the most important youth robotics event of the year, Team Chile, supported by “Ingenious: science and technology for all” and the Fab Lab of the Catholic University, was the team that represented the country. Four young people from different schools and national robotics teams met for weeks to prepare the robot that represented us in the World Cup.

The final result of the team, made up of two women and two men, left them in the 88th place out of 161. In the matches they competed with 24 teams, but the total score is compared to the results of all the matches of all the teams. So they came to compete against more than 175 countries.

Team Chile traveled to Mexico City supported by the “Ingenious: science and technology for all” program, which seeks to promote STEM vocations in girls and adolescents in the country, and the constant support and loan of Fab Lab work spaces from the Catholic University. “From Ingeniosas we support Team Chile so that more and more children and, especially, girls get involved in STEM areas. In particular, robotics is an activity that brings together various disciplines such as design, programming, mechanics and mathematical thinking. It is very complete because they work soft, motor and computer skills,” says Maitetxu Larraechea, Director of “Ingeniosas: ciencia y tecnología para todos”.

The captain of Team Chile, Macarena Abarca (16), says that “taking the leadership was something new that with the support of my colleagues we managed to overcome in an excellent way. We hope that next year you can reach higher as Chile, that the robot is even better and that there continue to be institutions like Girls in Tech and Ingeniosas who support the national talent so that we can go even further.”

Valentina Flores (15) – participant of Team Chile – marked a milestone in the history of Chilean robotics as it is the first time that a woman from our country handled the robot in an international competition. “For me it was a very different competition from the ones I’ve had since I started in robotics. Although the result was important for everyone, there was a very strong friendship and union between the teams. Each team was concerned about improving their game, and wished others to do well. Even the help in the robot was very common,” she says when she returns to Chile.

Maitetxu Larraechea says that this is a great task: “We are proud that two women are an important part of the FIRST Global Chile team. Macarena Abarca is the captain of the team and Valentina Flores is the first Chilean woman to handle the robot in an international competition. They are exemplary women and great geniuses that open the way for more girls to become interested in STEM.”

“What impressed me most was the number of cultures and people I met. I had never met people from Bangladesh, Belize and India, for example. It really was a unique opportunity to be with people from all over the world and have enjoyed them, there was a union for robotics that led us to know each other and to realize that we are not so different,” says Ignacio Monardes (16), a member of Team Chile.

Robotics is an activity that brings together various disciplines delivers multiple benefits from the development of computational thinking to improvements in soft skills. “I would lack words to be able to describe all the experiences and things that I lived, since the different cultures and people with whom I could share made me realize multiple realities, I think that is also strongly related to the things that I liked the most on the trip, since being able to share with such different people and being able to learn from them is an inexplicable sensation,” adds Felipe Madrid (17), a member of Team Chile.

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