Have you ever watched robots playing soccer or bowling? In November in Costa Rica, you can watch young talented engineers showcase their intelligent robots when for the first time the sophisticated mechanics event moves from Asia to Central America.

Costa Rica will host its first World Robot Olympiad (WRO), the globe’s biggest robotics competition for young people, over the weekend of November 10-12, 2017.

An Opportunity for Costa Rica

No doubt, hosting such a high profile event provides many opportunities for Costa Rica, according to the Ministry of Science, Technology and Telecommunication (MICITT). Science Minister Marcelo Jenkins stated, “Hosting the WRO is a great opportunity to present globally the capacity of Costa Rican human resources and the efforts that different institutions make to promote technological development.”

World Robot OlympiadIn order to organize the following edition in Costa Rica, the ministry is working together with Aprender Haciendo, the Costa Rican Lego Education organization.

Alejandra Sanchez, national WRO representative, expects more than 2,500 participants from over 55 countries to attend. She is proud that Costa Rica is hosting the next edition: “From 2011 until 2015, the Costa Rican delegation became progressively smaller. Precisely because of the immense cost of traveling to Asia”, she said to La Nacion. “Finally, in 2017 all our teams will have the opportunity to participate in this world class event. This means they will compete on the same tasks as children from all over the world,” continued Sanchez.

About the World Robot Olympiad

Unlike the Olympic summer and winter games, the World Robot Olympiad takes place every year. Previous competitions have taken place in Singapore, Taipei, Japan, Korea, Philippines, UAE, Malaysia, Indonesia, Qatar, and India. Sixty Costa Rican students between the ages of nice and 25 represented the country last year in the South Asian country’s capital of Delhi. The task for all participants is to build robots using elements of the Lego Education Mindstorm system in teams of two or three.

The World Robotic Categories

Every team has to compete in one of four different disciplines: Regular, Open, Football, and Bowling. In the Regular Category (RC), teenagers have to build and program a robot that has to solve several tasks in a parkour of three square meters. The Open Category requires teams to develop an appropriate robot model according to the topic of that particular WRO edition. At the Football Game robot teams have to play soccer in playing field. And finally, individual robots are tasked with playing a bowling match in the Bowling Challenge.

World Robot Olympiad

Every edition of the WRO is dedicated to a different topic. The theme of 2016 was “Rap the Scrap” which was all about reducing, recycling and managing waste.

The 2017 Costa Rican edition, Sustainabots: Robots for Sustainability, has sustainable development as its theme.

And, organizers said on their site, “We are proud to present the new Regular and Open Category challenges, the Football game and a whole new Advanced Robotics Challenge game called Tetrastack.”

Registrations for the November event are already open, but the specific location within Costa Rica has yet to be announced.