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Robot builders from Bicol science high eye int’l title

/ 08:50 PM October 28, 2012

GOA, Camarines Sur—Two teams of Lego robot builders and programmers from the Philippine Science High School-Bicol Region Campus (PSHS-BRC) are eyeing an international title in the robot olympiad in Malaysia in November after they got the first and second places in the Philippine Robot Olympiad held in September in Manila.

Sevedeo J. Malate, coach of PSHS-BRC’s teams, said their teams’ record in last year’s World Robotics Olympiad in Abu Dhabi, United Arabs Emirates (UAE), gave them hope to be among the top three contenders in the world.

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Malate said that in Abu Dhabi, the PSHS-BRC Robo-Soccer Team ranked fifth among 56 teams from 38 countries. Thailand was first; Egypt, second, and South Korea and Taiwan, third and fourth, respectively.

He said the PSHS-BRC has been joining robotics competitions and representing the Philippines since their first international tilt in Nanning City in China in 2006.

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Malate said the following year the PSHS-BRC robotics team was sent to the same international competition in Taiwan in 2007, Japan in 2008, South Korea in 2009 and the Philippines in 2010, where their team was seeded in the top 10.

He said they have greatly improved since placing fifth in UAE and they hope to move to the top in the competition in Kuala Lumpur from Nov. 8 to 12.

The two PSHS-BRC Robo-Soccer Teams have three members each that is composed of one builder and two programmers, who use the Lego Mindstorm software to equip the robots with an automated sense of directions and actions.

Malate said from 2006 to 2009, they competed in the regular robotics competition where the robots created by the team were made to maneuver around a maze, for which the team received an excellence award.

He said they started competing in the international robotics event in soccer using three robots against another three robots playing soccer on a playing field the size of a small dining table.

Vincent Arnel S. Buerano, third year high school student, said he started from scratch in writing the program of the Lego robots’ movements.

In the regular robotics category one challenge involves the Lego robots picking up and placing colored blocks in the same colored squares.

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He said it’s a trial and error until the right calibration of the Lego robot’s directions and actions has been achieved.

Lourdes Marie C. Alvina, third year high school student, said the program of Lego robots for soccer playing, that involved one goal keeper and two field players, required varying programs.

Malate noted that during competitions, the PSHS-BRC teams faced the challenge of recalibrating the programs of Lego robots because of the changes in the environment.

“A change of lighting can easily mislead the reading of the Lego robots,” he said.

Tan Sri Abd Ghafar bin Mahmud, chair of the organizing committee of the World Robotics Olympiad, in his post in www.wro12.org, said over 22 countries would join the international robotics event.

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