The winners of the overall champion of the 8th Regional Botball Robotics Challenge
Kuwait’s Al Ru’ya Bilingual School was the overall champion of the 8th Regional Botball Robotics Challenge held at Carnegie Mellon University in Qatar over the weekend. Qatar’s Al Khor Independent School finished 2nd overall, while Raba’a Independent School for Girls won the Judge’s Choice Award during the double elimination tournament. For the third year in a row, Shell Qatar sponsored the regional tournament, which attracted 250 students from 27 schools.
It was Al Ru’ya Bilingual School’s third victory in six appearances at the annual competition, which introduces secondary school students to the world of robotics, equipping them with the necessary skills and experience to independently design, build and program autonomous robots using ‘C’ – the most widely used programming language in industry and academia.
Waleed Hussain, Al Ru’ya team member in grade 11, said: “This is a great competition and a great opportunity for us. The competition has helped us learn programming, apply our mathematics, science and tech skills, and has indeed been a fantastic experience.”
As the first place winner, Al Ru’ya Bilingual School will travel to Honolulu, Hawaii, in July to attend the 2012 Global Conference on Educational Robotics where they will meet middle school and high school students, robot enthusiasts, and professionals from around the world. In Honolulu, they will also compete in the 2012 International Botball Tournament.
With the international tournament set to take place in Hawaii, the theme focused on marine life and reef renewal.
Based on a hypothetical scenario in which a hurricane causes the destruction of the islands’ coral, students had to design and program their robot to save the endangered coral by placing it in protected marine habitats. Robots moved autonomously by responding to visual triggers, requiring students to input commands in the code to have their robots respond to the surroundings.
The ultimate goal was to show students how robotics technologies, physics and mathematical concepts can be used to perform tasks such as relocating a coral reef.
"I am excited to see what the students had to offer in this year's Botball tournament," said Robert Munster, Shell's Vice President for Health, Safety, Environment, and Sustainable Development.
Munster added, "Technology is at the heart of everything Shell does, and involving students in programs that develop their scientific, computing and technological skills is of great importance.
“The tournament is an innovative approach to introducing the students to elements of project management as well, which will help them hone their skills as leaders. We hope that this will contribute to human development, in line with the Qatar National Vision 2030."
The annual Botball season kicked off in Doha with a two-day workshop on Jan. 27 and 28, in which 50 students from 29 regional schools learned how to command autonomous robots in two days.
"The interaction and collaboration between the students to better understand robotics helps them prepare for university life by developing their project planning, teamwork and communication skills," said Mohamed Mustafa, academic assistant at Carnegie Mellon Qatar and Botball technical advisor in the Middle East.
Qatar’s schools showcased their programming prowess at the Botball Regionals.
Mohammad Alam, Al Khor Independent School team member in grade 13, said: “This is an exciting competition for us; we really worked hard to get here. At first, we did not think that we would finish 2nd overall. However, we followed a strategy that proved effective – we examined the strengths and weaknesses of all the participating teams and tried to tackle them. I am glad that all the hard work and after school hours we have spent working on robots and testing them paid off. This would not have been possible without the team’s efforts and team spirit.”
Haneen Hamed, grade 11 at Raba’a Independent School for Girls, said on behalf of the team: “This is our first time to participate in this competition, and we are very happy to receive the Judge’s Choice Award. Most importantly, this is a great achievement for us as females, as we were the only all-female group. We are proud that we are representing girls in Qatar.”
The following schools from Qatar, United Arab Emirates, Kuwait and Egypt participated in the Botball Regional Finals: Ahmed Bin Mohammed Al Thani School for Boys; Al Bayan Bilingual School; Al Khor International School; Al Mawakeb School (Al Barsha); Al Mawakeb School (Al Garhoud); Al Ru'ya Bilingual School; Al-Wakra Independent Secondary School for Boys; Alzobara Secondary School for Boys; American School of Doha; Canadian International School of Egypt; Doha College; Doha Independent School; DPS-Modern Indian School; Dukhan English School; Global Academy International; Gulf English School; Hayah International Academy; Hamaza Bin Abdul Muttalib School for Boys; International School of Arts & Sciences; International School of London-Qatar; Khalifa Secondary School for Boys; Lycee Bonaparte; Mossab Bin Omair Secondary School for Boys; Omar Bin Al Khattab Boys School; Qatar Academy; Qatar International School; Raba'a Secondary School for Girls; The British School of Kuwait and the Lebanese School-Qatar.