MANAGUA – Five teenagers will represent Nicaragua at an international robotics competition to be held in Washington DC from July 14-20, authorities at the foundation supporting them announced Tuesday.
The teens will go up against other competitors from more than 160 countries in a contest where their robots will have to overcome obstacles like climb up ramps, select balls of different colors and move them from one spot to another, the project chief for the Padre Fabretto Foundation, Cesar Dubois, told EFE.
The students have been working on their robot since March and will have it ready in about two weeks, according to Finn Hermeling, from Germany, who is providing the team with technical assistance.
The supplies for building the robot were sent by the US First Global organization, the organizer of the competition, but the team members are not provided with a manual that tells them how to assemble the parts, and so the final result will be the product of their creativity, Dubois said.
“We’re really enthused. We think that this is a very important life opportunity for the youngsters. I think that it’s going to give them other perspectives, it’s going to allow them to dream,” Dubois said.
Hermeling said that he is pleased with the progress the Nicaraguan team is making on building their robot. “I really love that moment when we’re working and I see that they grasped something. When that happens, it opens up their world,” Hermeling said.
The team members – all of whom are 18 – are Gloria, Engel, Ana, Alejandra and Victor, and all are high school students who split their time between their academic activities and the robot project.
They say they are optimistic and hope to be able to come away from the competition with some kind of award.
“I’m really interested in robot programming,” Engel told EFE, adding that when he’s older he wants to be a civil engineer, although right now he’s enthused by robotics.
The teens are among 30,000 beneficiaries of the Padro Fabretto Foundation, a non-profit organization that works throughout Nicaragua to provide nutrition and educational programs.