Methodist Girls’ SHS wins 2019 World ROBOFEST competition

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Methodist Girls’ High School at Mamfe Akuapem in the Eastern Region took first place in the Senior Game Division at the Robofest World Championships, held at Lawrence Technological University, Michigan, in the United States of America.

The 20th edition of the robotic-driven approach in solving tasks was won by Team Acro-Bot from the Ghana Robotics Academy Foundation, a robotics organisation in Accra.

The task given comprised building a robot to arrange boxes according to a Binary Number Given. This Binary Number is unveiled when all robots are impounded.

In all, approximately 600 students competed at LTU in Robofest events from May 16 to May 18, 2019.

MEGHIS had earlier triumphed from the preliminary contests held in Ghana among all the top senior high schools.

The annual competition in Ghana, under the code name Robotics Inspired Science Education, (RISE), is organised by Ghana Robotics Academy Foundation, founded by Dr Ashitey Trebi-Olenu.

Taking second place were the Teqq Televisors, a team from Hyderabad, India, while third place went to Team Joe Bots of Troy, Mich.

In the Junior Game Division for grades 5-8, first place went to the Robobuilders of Novi, Mich, with second place to team JABs of Aurora, Ill., and third place to Robowarriors of Troy, Mich.

Robofest was invented in 1999 by LTU computer science professor C.J. Chung, and since inception has seen 28,000 students compete worldwide.

Robofest features robots that are completely autonomous—controlled solely by software, not remote-controlled by joystick—and has low barriers to entry, with a $50 entry fee and a robot kit that costs less than $300.

Robofest is also seven competitions in one.

A Game competition, which changes every year, is the most popular event, but there are also competitions in Bottle Sumo, a simple game in which robots try to push each other or a two-litre pop bottle off a table; RoboParade, in which robots are judged on elaborate decorations, as well as their ability to stay on a path; RoboArts, in which robots are programmed to accomplish artistic objectives like music or dance; the Unknown Mission Challenge, in which students are given a task to complete with limited time to write the software to accomplish it; the Vision Centric Challenge, a competition for high school and college teams in machine vision; and the Exhibition, where students dream up any task they choose, and design a robot to accomplish it.

In other competitions decided Saturday, the winner of Junior Exhibition was PCMS, from Pui Ching Middle School in Macau, a former Portuguese colony now a semi-independent part of China.

Winning the Senior Exhibition category was Aurora, from the Baptist Lui Ming Choi Secondary School in Hong Kong.

Winning Senior RoboArts was Visual Muzic, a team from Escuela Preparatoria Numero Unio in Metepec, Mexico.

Winning Junior RoboArts was Golden Brains, a team from Genio Tech School in Alexandria, Egypt. Sweeping the Vision Centric Challenge at both the high school and college levels were teams from the Robot Institute of Hong Kong.

“Robofest is an integrated learning environment to provide talented workforce for the upcoming fourth industrial revolution era,” said Chung, who is also leading LTU’s autonomous vehicle project, ACTor, or Autonomous Campus Transport.

“And as this impressive list of winners shows, Robofest is also truly a global celebration of fun competition and STEM education.”

LTU Provost Maria Vaz provided opening remarks for the event and presented trophies to winners in the late afternoon closing ceremonies. LTU Director of Media Relations Matt Roush served as the event’s master of ceremonies.

Robofest sponsors included the auto suppliers DENSO and Hyundai MOBIS, the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, FUTEK Advanced Sensor Technology Inc., the Michigan Council of Women in Technology Foundation, RoboMatter Inc., Robot Mesh, the National Defence Industries Association of Michigan, Research Into Internet Systems (RIIS) Inc., Realtime Technologies Corp., IEEE, Toyota, and SoarTech.

The Ghana Robotics Academy Foundation was founded by Dr Ashitey Trebi-Olenu in 2011 as a non-profit volunteer organization dedicated to motivating and inspiring the next generation of Ghanaians interest and participation in science and technology.

Ghana Robotics Academy Foundation pioneers science education through administering hands-on robotics workshops and competitions throughout Ghana for Junior Secondary Schools, Senior Secondary Schools and Colleges.

The impetus behind this dedication to robotics education is that in Europe, North America and Asia robotics teams are catching on with students, igniting their passion for technology, engineering, and fever-pitched competition.

Demonstrating that robotics workshops are an ideal way to captivate young minds and stimulate critical thinking.

One of the major challenges for Ghana will be ensuring younger generations obtain competitive technical skills through higher education, the scientific and technological building blocks critical to economic leadership.

As these well educated and technology savvy Ghanaian students enter the work-force over the next few years as entrepreneurs, they will help Ghana’s fast-growing, low middle income economy continue to grow, and will help in the formation of the increasingly important and dynamic services sectors and knowledge-based economic enterprises.

This will also result in a broadly shared prosperity in Ghana through a more educated and skilled student body that is interested in science, technology, engineering, and math.

Unless young Ghanaians are inspired and energized to pursue STEM, Ghana faces the risk of falling behind the technological workforces of India, China, and South East Asia nations.

Ghana Robotics Academy will provide a new high-level initiative in science and technology that will be an outstanding recruitment tool for young Ghanaian scientists, engineers and entrepreneurs.

Source: The Finder

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Kennedy Mornah is an Award Winning Ghanaian Journalist with over two decades of experience in the Ghanaian Media landscape spanning the electronic, print and digital media. He is a Media Consultant, a Corporate MC, Radio and TV Host, Founder and Publisher of the Maritime and Transport Digest Newspaper, Businessman, a Go getter and an optimist. He has worked for renowned media organizations including Diamond Fm in Tamale, Luv Fm in Kumasi, Oman Fm in Accra and Starr Fm in Accra In 2017 he received the Reporter of the Year Award at the Ghana Shippers Awards in Accra, Ghana.

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