Young Achiever: Youngsters take robot to Dubai

  • A WiiSH come true: Team Bermuda, front from left, Zär’a Cardell, Lucien Penacho, Jake Roberts, Tamara Dean and Malachi Butterfield; back, Ethan Sousa, Ethan Fox and Azari Easton (Photography supplied)

    A WiiSH come true: Team Bermuda, front from left, Zär’a Cardell, Lucien Penacho, Jake Roberts, Tamara Dean and Malachi Butterfield; back, Ethan Sousa, Ethan Fox and Azari Easton (Photography supplied)

A team of youngsters will represent Bermuda on the world stage at an international robotics competition.

Team Bermuda, made up of five engineers between the ages of 14 and 18, fly to Dubai tomorrow for the First Global Robotics Competition.

The youngsters will compete against teams from 186 countries with a robot that they built from scratch and designed to collect trash from the sea.

The robot is called Why Is It So Heavy?

Lucien Penacho, 14, explained: “We don’t actually know how heavy it is or why it’s so heavy, but it is heavier than it looks.”

Lucien, the team’s spokesman, said that WiiSH was made to collect ocean debris — represented by different-sized balls — and shoot them into a barge.

He added that this year’s theme, Ocean Opportunities, challenged participants to build a robot that could clear water pollutants in 2½ minutes.

The Mount Saint Agnes pupil explained: “We have to pick up big or small balls and put them into those levels — the top level is six points, middle is four and the bottom is two.

“With Ocean Opportunities, you’re in an alliance with three other countries who are randomly picked and we face off against another alliance. So we would just have to try and get as many points for our team and the alliance with the most points wins that match.”

Members of Team Bermuda worked on WiiSH with three other youngsters after school and on the weekends for almost two months.

The youngsters were assisted by the technology group ConnecTech, who organised Team Bermuda, and several other advisers from Bermuda College.

Coral Wells, the founder of ConnecTech, said: These guys have been very dedicated for these last few weeks and they’re here from 4pm to 7pm just about every night.

“On top of this, all of them are doing their schoolwork as well and keeping up with their studies.”

Lucien, who lives in St George’s, said that he had to catch the bus home and often did not get in until 8pm.

But he added: “This is the kind of thing that I want to do in the future, so the competition was a good opportunity to learn more about what I want to do.”

Ethan Sousa, a Warwick Academy pupil and captain of Team Bermuda, believed the biggest advantage his team had was creativity.

The 17-year-old explained: “A lot of ideas have come from every member of the team and we’ve been able to execute a couple of them pretty effectively.

“It wasn’t just one person had all of the ideas — everyone had a couple of ideas, we put them all together and we figured out what we could do and how we could build it.”

Ethan added: “To be realistic, I don’t know if we’re going to win, but the top place that we’ve placed in the past was in the 50s so I’m hoping to do better than the past years.”

The competition will take place from October 24 to 27.

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Published Oct 21, 2019 at 8:00 am (Updated Oct 21, 2019 at 6:43 am)

Young Achiever: Youngsters take robot to Dubai

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