STEM Guyana teams win bronze at international robotics competition
Young Guyanese with tech savvy minds were put to the task earlier this month and Guyana scored big with its 16 teams copping third place at the International Youth Robot Competition (IYRC) held virtually in South Korea.
The annual competition focuses on robotics, programming and digital technologies. Although teams have won gold and silver medals during past participation, this year’s position proved that the children beat the odds.
According to STEM coordinators, the participants had limited time to prepare and this was the first time that teams out of Georgetown were competing.
The teams were organised and guided by Science Technology Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) Guyana.
Children from three of the teams – two senior teams and a junior team – spoke to the News Room on Wednesday, recapping the preparation needed to ensure their big win.
Faith Mathews, Kelwin Haynes, Rochintia Holder, Elizabeth Wilson and Rushama Holder were part of the Bayroc Stars team in Region 10.
These children, who are part of the STEM Guyana learning pod team, competed for the first time, in the junior category.
Meanwhile, Tushaant Sanichara from team Young Warriors and Robo-Sapiens team members Lucas Simpson and Angel De Mendonza were among the senior competitors.
Among the robots that participated were a COVID bot and a sanitisation bot. The COVID bot is a robot that conducts tests for COVID-19 and distributes vaccines, while the sanitisation bot cleans the COVID bot.
There was also the ‘food robot’ which makes it easier for persons to get their food delivered to them.
“The robot would deliver food to you and it also lights up in the dark so in case you can’t see there is a sensor that you can see and collect your food,” De Mendonza explained.
The senior competitors related that their participation was based on their interest in technology.
Tushaant said, “If I build a robot, I could think of the possibilities that robot can do.”
“This robot, according to the manual, you have to use a remote control, but with my possibility I got to make it (in) use without a remote.”
He said that he enjoys using his imagination for building and noted that he believes the future will be filled with robots.
Meanwhile, Simpson related that he wants to explore the ocean and hopes that through technology he can someday create a submarine that goes deeper into the sea than they currently go.
“I want to explore the oceans because submarines can’t go as deep as we want them to go, so I’m thinking of making one that can go down to the Mariana trench,” Simpson said.
According to the children, the competition was exciting but like all competitions it did not come without challenges.
Mathews said there were occasions when her teammates were overwhelmed by technology.
However, they were encouraged by club leader Alecha Timmerman, who told them that giving up would mean sacrificing their chances of being among the top performers.