(CMR) The Cayman Islands National Robotics team left for Geneva, Switzerland on Monday to compete in the FIRST Global Challenge international robotics tournament with Mangrover, the robot they have custom-designed.
Mangrover was built to represent the Cayman Islands in the ‘Carbon Capture’ themed event.
Every year, FIRST Global selects a theme that challenges teams from 180 countries to work together and tackle the big issues facing the planet. ‘Carbon Capture’ focuses on finding climate solutions to reduce the amount of carbon released into the atmosphere by augmenting natural processes or creating new technologies.
“Climate change is a global problem. By engaging the world’s youth on this pressing issue, FIRST Global is an example of the power of investment and teamwork to make a positive impact. Technology is the answer to climate change,” said FIRST Global founder Dean Kamen.
The Cayman Islands National Robotics team has spent hundreds of hours this summer engineering and programming a robot that can capture and store carbon ‘elements’ in a game that requires teams to maneuver balls to a central carbon ‘sink’. The result is ‘Mangrover’, named after nature’s answer to carbon sequestration, a robot that can scoop up balls and eject them 10 feet into the air to reach the storage target.
Coach Desmond White, who is the subject leader of design and technology at John Gray High School, has built a model of the competition course so that the team can practice operating the robot and tweak their design. Each member of the team – Alex Walters (15), Diamond White (16), Max Clarke (15), Michael Marzouca (16), Teejhan Hansraj (15), Marissa Wright (15), Kyah Morris (15), Drew Plania (14) and Adi Binoy (15) – has a designated role from designing, programming and driving the robot to communications.
“It has been absolutely inspiring to see the enthusiasm and camaraderie displayed by these students as they worked through the various stages of the engineering design process. They demonstrated excellent teamwork and commitment throughout the various iterations of the design and can therefore be truly proud of the finished robot,” said White.
Last Monday, the team gave a demonstration of Mangrover in action to Governor Martyn Roper, earning extra points in the competition for promoting STEM and innovation in the local community. Mangrover was also on display at an event for sponsors, family, and fellow students on Sunday as part of their mission to help educate younger students in robotics.
With preparations complete, the team is now in Geneva, Switzerland for three days of Olympics-style competition in the FIRST Global arena. Seven students from four high schools are traveling with two coaches and Dart’s senior manager of the education program Glenda McTaggart, who runs the program as part of Minds Inspired. After the tournament, McTaggart has also arranged for the team to visit CERN, the European organization for nuclear research, in Geneva.
The Cayman Islands National Robotics team is sponsored by Dart, Aureum Re, CUC, Digicel, Health City Cayman Islands, and KPMG.
To receive updates on the Cayman Islands National Robotics team’s progress at the FIRST Global Challenge, follow Minds Inspired on Facebook or Instagram. You can also watch a Livestream of the competition at https://first.global/live from 13 to 16 October 2022.