Can robots be used to identify and collect waste? Can they be used to recycle that waste? Can they be turned into football players and goalkeepers?
The answer is “yes.” About 735 students from various schools across the country on Sunday demonstrated how at Netaji Indoor Stadium in Kolkata.
They were taking part in the national championship of World Robot Olympiad (WRO) 2016 organised jointly by National Council of Science Museums (NCSM) and India Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics Foundation (STEM Foundation) on October 22 and 23.
The theme was ‘Rap the Scrap’ (robots for reducing managing and recycling waste).
Students participating in the Olympiad came up with different models. There were 245 groups; each group had three students. The groups were divided into various categories — elementary junior high, senior high games, advanced robotic challenge category, WRO football category (where robots were made to play football). The different challenges for participants depended upon their age group (9 to 25 years).
Groups participating in the elementary level had to build a robot that could distinguish between waste material and non-waste material and collect them while going from one point to another and come back to a position it was supposed to. At the regular level, students designed robots which lifted the waste material in a container within itself for recycling. The other groups played football.
According to Satyajit Narayan Singh, spokesperson of National Council of Science Museums, some groups from 245 will be selected and will participate in World Robot Olympiad (WRO) to be organised in India in November.
This is the first time WRO is being organised in India. Earlier, WROs were held in Singapore (2004), Thailand (2005), China (2006), Taipei, Yokohama, Pohang, Manila, Philippines, Abu Dhabi, Kuala Lumpur, Jakarta, Russia and Qatar.
“Robotics is an emerging field in India and robotic games are a natural way to attract students and people. NCSM has always been instrumental in nurturing innovation and creativity through its network of science centres and innovation hubs. Such hubs have facilitated the participation of a large number of students in this Olympiad. I expect this will help further develop the interest of students,” said A S Manekar, director general, NCSM.