Filipinos have a deep love for basketball and their skills were tested in the sport again, albeit in a slightly different manner.
As reported, the Tagisang Robotics: Design, Build and Play Competition has made a comeback, which features a new game inspired by basketball.
About the competition
During its previous seasons, from 2011-2014, football was the sport of choice. This time around, robots shot sepak takraw balls in a trajectory towards their respective goals.
The competition surely captured the creativity and team spirit of young Filipinos.
The robots were designed and built by high school students who manoeuvred their creations on the playing field during the recent tournament.
The varsity-type robotics competition, which was organised by the Department of Science and Technology-Science Education Institute (DOST-SEI), is now on its fifth run.
Background of the initiative
DOST-SEI Director Dr Josette Biyo explained why it took the Institute five years to bring back the competition after its last tournament in 2014.
They needed to give way to other science promotion projects. The plan to bring it back, however, has always been there as they are aware of the increasing role of robotics in education, business, healthcare or the Fourth Industrial Revolution in general.
The DOST-SEI, aside from spearheading the DOST scholarships, implements science and mathematics teachers training and youth science promotion programs.
The break has given the Agency the opportunity to reconfigure the game to best match the interests and talents of the students.
The competition started last September 2019 with a five-day Technical Training and Workshop and Game Reveal. Kits containing robot parts were distributed to the teams during the training.
They were given two months to design and build robots that could withstand the challenges in the playing field as well as shoot the most number of balls to win.
Sixteen schools competed against each other. Each team is composed of four junior high school students and one teacher-coach.
They went through seven rounds of elimination matches to determine which teams will advance to the semi-finals and finals.
The entries were reportedly judged based on their functionality. This year, a new ‘autonomous period’ was added to the mechanics.
For this aspect, students should be able to pre-program the robot to function without being controlled, for 30 seconds. At this time, the robot should at least go outside its original position.
Overall, the robot’s performance should last 2 minutes.
The prizes for the winners are as follows:
- PHP 100,000 (US$ 1,969.26) cash prize for the Best Team Award
- PHP 150,000 (US$ 2,953.77) cash prize for the Best Alliance Award
- PHP 30,000 (US$ 590.75) cash prize for the winning team’s coach
- PHP 15,000 (US$ 295.38) each for winning alliance coaches
Hopefully, the competition will spark the interest of the students in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) as well as in information and communications technology (ICT).
Through this endeavour, they aim to make the students see robotics as fun and engaging. It is a good start in ensuring that the country will have more robotics experts in the future.
The Department is looking forward to having these students apply as DOST scholars.