Saturday, June 15, 2024

Indigenous students win berth at Japan robotics competition

A team of two indigenous Nahua students from Guerrero came in first place at a national robotics contest held in Quintana Roo, winning them a berth to represent Mexico in an international competition in Japan next year.

The contest was organized by Conalep, a system of public high schools that offer technical education.

Victor Manuel Bautista Nieves and Próspero Romero Gerardo, both 18-year-old students at the Conalep school in Chilapa, Guerrero, won the contest by designing a robot able to locate and extinguish three randomly-placed candles on a determined field within three minutes.

Professor Luis Ángel Alonso, who worked with the students on the project, told the newspaper Milenio that the team was given only 15 days to complete the project.

“We needed to create a robot that was able to avoid obstacles and put out fires, without leaving determined lines,” he said. “We needed to use line follower sensors, grayscale sensors and flame sensors, as well as motors that do the work of putting out the flames.”

The firefighting robot created by two Guerrero students.
The firefighting robot created by two Guerrero students.

Romero is from the community of Ixcatla, about an hour away from Chilapa. The youngest of eight siblings, he is the first to go to high school. During the week, he stays with his godmother in Chilapa to be closer to the school, where he is studying nursing. On the weekends he goes home to Ixcatla to help his parents with their work on the farm.

Bautista, who lives in Zitlala, is studying electromechanics.

He hopes to pursue a degree in mechatronic engineering, a discipline he says is “focused on automating machines to benefit people, using physics, mechanics, electronics and programming.”

Since he won the contest, Bautista says his commute has taken much longer because people stop him on the street to congratulate him.

“They stop me, they give me a handshake, or sometimes a hug, and they say they want to go to Japan too,” he said.

Source: Milenio (sp)

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