Doha school wins ME Botball Robotics challenge

Al Mawakeb School from UAE comes in second, Doha College third

Tags: Carnegie Mellon UniversityCompetitionQatarRobotsShell (Royal Dutch Shell)
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Doha school wins ME Botball Robotics challenge The American School of Doha won the 7th Regional Botball Robotics Challenge held at Carnegie Mellon University in Qatar.
By  Georgina Enzer Published  March 28, 2011

The American School of Doha has won the 7th Regional Botball Robotics Challenge held at Carnegie Mellon University in Qatar on Friday.

In second place was Al Mawakeb School from UAE and Doha College was third.

"We are so ecstatic to be awarded first place. We had a few complications at the beginning but then we all worked together to overcome the obstacles. The experience was so rewarding and I am so proud to be a part of the winning team," said Badhur Hansen, one of the programmers and builders from the winning team.    

Approximately 180 students from 24 schools from across the Middle East participated in this year's Botball Tournament regional challenge.

Schools from Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, UAE, Bahrain and Qatar competed and the tournament was sponsored by Shell, Qatar.

"We are all so happy to get the chance to go to California for the 2011 International Botball Tournament. We worked really hard but the time and effort spent on our project paid off," said Adrian Bergdal who worked on documentation and building.

Regional participation and interest in the tournament has increased dramatically since it was first introduced into the Middle East in 2005, according to Carnegie Mellon University, when just four teams took part in the regional event.

"This year has seen the next generation of high school students take on a new robotics challenge in the annual Carnegie Mellon regional Botball competition. Students from schools from across the region brought the robots that they have been building and programming for the last two months to Carnegie Mellon Qatar in Education City and compete for the right to be called Botball region champions. Robotics is a great tool to teach students about science, technology, engineering, and mathematics along with programme management skills. Many of these students will come to Education City as undergraduates to further deepen these skills and will be the driving force for the growing Knowledge Economy in Qatar and the region. Moreover, it is exactly these skills that we put to use as Computer Science researchers to develop robots that can drive themselves, perform inspection in oil and gas plants, through to robots that can aid in disaster response operations like those going on with the nuclear and tsunami recovery efforts in Japan." said Brett Browning, PhD, senior Systems Scientist, Carnegie Mellon University.

The Botball Tournament is a robotics challenge for both middle and high-school students, which encourages learners to build and develop their knowledge of technology, engineering and maths through creating a robot. Students are taught to use the C programming language and develop strategies using artificial intelligence with embedded systems.

"Qatar Shell is delighted to be partnering with Carnegie Mellon University Qatar and sponsoring the Botball programme," said Robert Munster, Shell's vice president for Health, Safety, Environment, and Sustainable Development. "I was truly impressed by the effort the students had put into this programme and the very creative robot designs and competition strategy. We encourage young students to take innovative approaches to solve problems and hope that programmes like this inspire them to continue pursuing a technical career.  The aim of such contests is to give students an opportunity to apply their scientific and technological skills, and to ultimately contribute to Qatar's human development, in line with the Qatar National Vision 2030."

The Botball Tournament began on 28th January with two workshops over two days, where participants learnt about the competition and were given basic robot kits and components so they could begin work on their robot.

The theme of this year's competition was Botville Airport Renovation and students had to complete tasks around green energy and sustainable initiatives for use in an airport and scored points for this.  

The American School of Doha will head to Anaheim, California in July to compete in the International Botball Tournament, attend the 2011 Global Conference on Educational Robotics and meet middle school and high school students, robot enthusiasts, and professionals from around the world.

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