The International Robot Olympiad (IRO) aims to develop the interest of students in the field of robotics. The 22nd edition of the olympiad was organised in Daegu, South Korea, but due the ongoing pandemic, participants from different countries sent their entries online, and were assessed virtually.
Team Bangladesh won two gold, two silver and five bronze medals, along with six technical awards at the IRO. Robo Sparkers, consisting of Misbah Uddin Inan from Chattogram Cantonment Public College and Zaima Jahin Wara from William Carey Academy, won a gold medal in the Creative category and a bronze medal in the Robot in Movie category. RoboTigers with Nasheetat Zainah Rahman, from Sunbeams, and Quazi Mostahid Labib, from Chittagong Grammar School-Dhaka, won the gold medal in the Robot in Movie category and the silver medal in the Creative category.
Ragib Yasar Rahman (Tiger-71), a student of Dhaka Residential Model College, won a bronze medal in the Creative category and the technical award for Robot in Movie. Team Matrix, formed by Sudipto Mondal and Md Muhaiminul Islam from Rajshahi University of Engineering and Technology, won the technical award in the Creative category, while RoboBangla, consisting of Tafsir Tahrim from Chittagong Grammar School-Dhaka, and Rafihath Saleh from Jalalabad Cantonment English School and Colledge, bagged the bronze medal in the Creative category and the technical award in the Robot in Movie category.
Robo Dreamers with Mahir Tajwar Chowdhury from Mirzapur Cadet College, and Shahhed Ur Rahman Sreyash from Barisal Model School and College, won the silver medal in the Robot in Movie category and the technical award in the Creative category. Tashrique Ahmed and Ahmed Istiaque from Jalalabad Cantonment English and Shuyeb Abir Ratul, from Notre Dame College, of team ROBOLUTION, bagged two bronze medals, in the Creative and Robot in Movie categories.
The theme for the event was 'Robot: The Future Transportation'. RoboTigers built a robot for the transportation sector of the military industry. "It was designed to serve the military industry and to take care of health issues of the patients and combat external threats of enemies during wars," Labib shared. On providing the location of a patient, the robot will reach there as quickly as possible. It also had a ramp, allowing patients with wheelchairs to enter the vehicle easily. "If it senses any attack during the journey, it would detect the army and shoot them to ensure the safety of its passengers. It can jump over obstacles, so that patients reach hospital without any delay," he added.
The participants were provided with 7 hours to shoot the film, edit it and send it to the judges. While talking about the challenges faced during the event, Zainah regarded lack of communication to be a major problem. "The pandemic made it difficult for us to collaborate as we could not meet in-person often. Moreover, we had limited resources," she said.
Robo Sparkers designed a smart train that can be controlled using manual and autonomous modes. "If the driver feels sick, he can simply toggle the mode and the train will drive automatically. This would prevent accidents," Inan shared. The train can also count the number of passengers through its autonomous door and extinguish fire automatically. In manual mode, it recommends staff the food to be served, according to the weather. "Our train guides blind people to their seats by telling them directions on a speaker," added Zaima. It is also capable of raising an alarm if any weapon is detected in its scanner. Furthermore, it monitors the driver's temperature continuously and notify the driver about any passenger infected with Covid - 19.
Participating in a virtual event was a new experience for most of the participants and they thank the Bangladesh Robot Olympiad Committee (BDROC) for their earnest efforts in making the process easier for them. The event was held at BCS Innovation Centre, Dhaka, and the international judges overviewed everything via Zoom. The members of BDROC ensured that the process is fair by monitoring participants at the venue.
Initially, the participants had to apply through BDRO's website and clear the national round. This was followed by mentoring sessions, and the gold medalists were selected to represent Bangladesh in IRO. The participants urge educational institutions to familiarise students with the concept of robotics. With regular workshops, robotics lab, and accessible resources, more students would be encouraged to apply for the event.
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