The robots that were designed and programmed to contribute to the environment were protagonists in the World Robotics Olympiad that was held for the 1st time in Costa Rica. The “Parque Viva Events Center” received more than 2,500 people from 60 delegations around the world.

The World Robotics Olympiad is an event that aims to unite children, youth, and adults to develop their creativity and problem-solving skills through the creation of robots.

José Pablo Alpízar, from the "Presbítero Manuel Bernardo Gómez de Palmares" school
José Pablo Alpízar, from the “Presbítero Manuel Bernardo Gómez de Palmares” school

The challenges of each Olympiad depend on the theme that each host wants to develop; for this occasion, Costa Rica decided that the central axis of this competition are the “Sustainabots”, which are robots that help sustainability, environmental conservation.

The Olympiad is classified by categories: the University, in which participants accumulate points for accommodating pieces of Tetris; the Open, a kind of scientific fair in which the students expose a problem and a sustainable solution that they gave through a robot; and Football, in which robots have to score goals for their opponent.

The robots that are present in the Olympiad are prototypes that were built with pieces of Lego Mindstorms and for the University category, they used more advanced materials.

Costa Rican representation

The representation of Costa Rica is composed of 16 teams that participate in all categories. They were selected during the National Robotics Olympiad that took place on August 12th and 13th, at the University of Costa Rica (UCR).

Carlos Manuel Navarro (12 years old) and José Daniel Chaves (13 years old) are from Liberia, Guanacaste and won the category of children in the National Olympiad, merit for which they are now present in this international event.

Children develop a drone that aims to detect forest fires

Carlos Manuel Navarro (12 years old) and José Daniel Chavez (13 years old) developed the prototype of a drone that allows forest fires to be monitored
Carlos Manuel Navarro (12 years old) and José Daniel Chavez (13 years old) developed the prototype of a drone that allows forest fires to be monitored

Currently, this work is done manually with watchers who monitor with binoculars the areas affected by the fire. The reaction times can be up to 4 hours, but with this drone can be reduced to minutes.

The drone would work with long-range thermal cameras and 360-degree-vision, which is powered by energy extracted from solar panels. According to Navarro and Chaves, the moment the cameras detect signs of fire, the drone is activated and can send the coordinates in real time so that the authorities can respond immediately.

The Professional Technical College of Platanar also has its representation and in this case, it is a robot that works with clean energies and that will allow to carry out plantations and extract crops.

Rodrigo Solís, a competitor of the Platanar School, commented that the robot can work with organic fertilizers and its objective is to replace the machinery that is used today in agriculture and that is a contaminant, as well as minimizing the number of people who work in the field and are exposed to diseases such as skin cancer.

Robot prototype created by students of the Professional Technical College of Platanar and shown at the World Robotics Olympiad
Robot prototype created by students of the Professional Technical College of Platanar and shown at the World Robotics Olympiad

It is expected that the robot is 1 x 1 meter and that it can be guided through Global Positioning System (GPS). That is, it is planned to have an autonomous driving. “The opportunity we see with this Olympiad is that robotics is not only for construction or industry but a tool that can be adapted to the conservation of ecosystems“, said Solís.

The Robotics World Olympiad ended on November 12th. Admission was free for all audiences.

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