Young Bermudians hailed for robot Olympics performance
A team of young Bermudians who braved illness and last-minute equipment failures to represent the island at a robotics challenge in Switzerland got applauded at an emotional ceremony last night.
Robotics Team Bermuda punched well above their weight at the First Global Robotics Olympics held in Geneva from October 11 to 16, friends and family heard.
Coral Wells, founder of the technology charity ConnecTech Coding, told the gathering at the Hamilton Princess Hotel that Team Bermuda, finishing 93rd out of 162 countries, placed above large countries such as Canada, Britain and Chile.
“We are small, little Bermuda, and we did amazingly,” she said.
“We will do amazingly again.”
First Global is a US-based charity dedicated to fostering science and technology education — and ConnecTech has been partnered with the organisation since 2019.
Zä’ra Cardell, mentor to the team, was credited for helping to save Bermuda’s efforts from disaster when their robot required a remake.
Azari Easton, one of the six who travelled to Geneva out of the 22-member team, said the competition was much more of a struggle than expected.
She said Zä’ra had been her first inspiration to pursue technology and robotics several years ago.
She joined the programme in 2019 “knowing nothing” — but her teaching carried her through to this year’s competition.
Zä’ra’s passion for the work “drove everybody” in Switzerland, she added.
“He stayed up until 5.30am rebuilding this whole robot with us.”
This year’s challenge took the theme of fighting global warming.
Plastic spheres representing the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide had to be scooped up and collected by the six different teams while participants had to get the spheres into a central “sink”.
Robots were also required to latch onto a bar and haul themselves up to various heights as part of the carbon capture.
Zä’ra said: “It was such a huge experience being part of this. What stands out in my mind is how proud I am of the kids we took.
“We had a lot of challenges with taking our robot apart and having to rebuild. Not everything was working how it did in Bermuda.
“Just that was crushing, but they were able to push through all the challenges we faced.”
Karen DeSousa, one of the parents who travelled with the team, called the experience a “whirlwind”.
She added that her child was among the youngsters who took sick at the Olympics.
“But that didn’t take from the experience at First Global,” Ms DeSousa said.
“This team is awesome. They have been ambassadors in Geneva and represented Bermuda very well.”
The travel team comprised Ben Crofton, Sage DeSousa, Nadia DeSousa, Ciarra Wells, Priel Minors and Ms Easton, with mentors Ms Wells and Mr Cardell.
Other team members were Tiko Caines, Jena Caines, Raya Burgess, Tyler Rossouw, Ryan Williams, Qiao Lightbourne, Anne-Camille Haziza, Sarah Haziza, Max Kempe, Joy Yammine, Noah Kipps Gibbons, Ryan McLean, Liam Thorne, Alexandra Llewellyn-Jones, Ava Simons, Jordon Marsh, with additional mentors Malachi Butterfield and Rian Michelsen.
Full results can be found online at the First Global website.