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Teams warm up for 7th Botball Robotics Tournament

26 middle and high school teams will take part in the event

Teams warm up for 7th Botball Robotics Tournament
Twenty-six teams of middle and high-school students recently took part in a two-day robotics workshop at the Carnegie Mellon University in Qatar ahead of the 7th Regional Botball Robotics Tournament on 25th March.

Twenty-six teams of middle and high-school students took part in a two-day robotics workshop at the Carnegie Mellon University in Qatar in Doha ahead of the 7th Regional Botball Robotics Tournament to be held on March 25th.

"This is the 7th season of Botball in the Middle East," said Mohamed Mustafa, academic assistant at Carnegie Mellon Qatar and Botball Technical Advisor in the Middle East. "It is great to see how much reputation this program has gained over the years. With three new teams from Qatar joining this year, we have about 26 teams competing from five different countries. This programme introduces computer science and engineering to high school students in a novel approach. The interaction and collaboration between the students, to better understand robotics, help the students to prepare for university life by developing their project planning, teamwork and communication skills."

Teachers and students from the Carnegie Mellon University taught students from the competing teams about the latest robotic technologies and then helped the students use the technologies to design, build and programme the competing robots.

The students have two months to apply the skills learned at the workshop and create at least one autonomous robot which can execute the tasks demanded by the competition's theme, which this year is ‘Botville Airport Renovation'.

Students must programme their robots to perform specific tasks related to green energy and sustainability initiatives implemented at an international airport.

These tasks range from baggage management to bio-fuel storage to building a control tower.

The teams will bring their robots to the Carnegie Mellon University in Qatar on March 25th to face off against each other in a series of competitions. Points will be awarded to robots that complete tasks within specific time restrictions. 

"For me as a chemistry teacher, joining an international robotics competition, it was kind of an unrealistic idea.  Nevertheless, driven by personal curiosity, I decided to make a team and take on the opportunity provided by Carnegie Mellon University in Qatar, and attended the training workshop held at the Qatar campus on 28th January. My students and I learnt so many skills that we were able to demonstrate after the workshop," said Khalid Ismail, chemistry coordinator, Khalifa Independent Secondary School for Boys. "The experience was very interesting and would like to thank all of the pre-college program members for providing this opportunity."

Countries participating in this year's tournament include Qatar, UAE, Bahrain, Kuwait and Saudi Arabia.

The prize for the winning team is a trip to the United States in July 2011 to compete in the international Botball tournament and attend the Global Conference on Educational Robotics in the United States. This year's tournament is sponsored by Shell.

"I am thrilled to see such a high level of participation from students in the Botball program" said Robert Munster, Shell's Vice President for Health, Safety, Environment, and Sustainable Development. "By putting their work into practical use, the program inspires students to study in fields of Computer Science and Engineering, and creates a tangible link between what they learn now and how they can apply it in the future. Technology is at the heart of everything Shell does, and involving students in programs that develop their scientific, computing and technological skills is of great importance. We hope that this will contribute to human development, in line with the Qatar National Vision 2030."

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