Robotics students: victims of theft. Robotics students: victims of theft.

Thieves steals robots, dash students’ dreams

Team had won a berth with the robots at an international contest

Six robotics students not only lost an investment worth hundreds of thousands of pesos last weekend but two years of hard work and their dreams as well.

The National Polytechnic Institute (IPN) students were in Michoacán for a robotics event when thieves broke into a car at the Morelia Institute of Technology (ITM) and stole their two robots.

The Roboticz UPIIME team had already qualified to compete at an international contest in Japan later this year but now they are unable to participate in what would have been their fourth consecutive competition.

“Unfortunately, with this incident our participation in the world championships will be impossible because we were victims of crime,” said Adrián Sánchez, the car’s owner and an IPN graduate from Zacatecas.

Sánchez told the newspaper El Universal that he and his teammates had invested years of study and all of their savings in the creations.

Building new robots — containing almost 150 specialized components each — in time for the All Japan Robot-Sumo Tournament scheduled to start on December 17 in Tokyo is too big a task, according to the team members.

The team won its category at the internationally important event for two consecutive years in 2014 and 2015 and last year placed third, but this year will have to be content with watching from the sidelines.

Both the Latin American Science and Technology Society (Solacyt), which organized the Morelia event, and the students say they have received no support from ITM and the institute’s management have sought to wash their hands of the matter.

“. . . We thought it was impossible for [their] security to be so vulnerable,” Sánchez said.

The team members reported the theft to authorities in the Michoacán capital and filed a criminal complaint.

“We don’t want the case to go unpunished,” Sánchez said.

“The only objective of our team was to give Mexico a great name.”

Source: El Universal (sp)

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