The Cook Islands is invited for the first time to the 2019 FIRST Global DXB Challenge – the robotic Olympics in the fields of robotics and artificial intelligence.
With its theme ‘Ocean Opportunities’ and 191 countries attending, the challenge focuses on developing robots to clean up the millions of tons of pollutants in the oceans.
Each team receives a robotic kit and is tasked with assembling a robot able to address various issues related to ocean and marine life
Josh Simpson, Terall Timoti, Tiare Kauvai, Hellena Faasili and Jasmine Naslund, make up Team Cook Islands. They built their robot from scratch over a period of five to six weeks
Naslund, who has her future goals set on environmental law, said “this (First Global) is an opportunity for me, it has made me realise I can make a difference.”
Robots are the new way, they do and can make life easier, she adds.
Faasili has a great interest in design. Working with robots is different, she says.
Building the robot from scratch, “learning new things is amazing, we problem solved things in new ways I’ve never done.”
Using screwdrivers and tools to tighten bolts here and there, was fun, she adds.
Constructing the robot is so different, none of us had any experience at all, says Kauvai, who likes creating things from scratch.
A lot of research was done prior to assembly stage. “I’m proud of us, we did a really good job. Kuki can drive, collect pollutants, store pollutants and dock on the processing barge, explaining its features.”
Timoti, who wants to become a programmer, said “I love the idea of building, programming…”
Learning from the very beginning, and trying to get the robot to work and all its functions is very rewarding. He is hyped about the upcoming trip and is excited for the great opportunity.
Simpson is looking forward to starting a career in the Navy, and sees the event as a great way for young adult, “to take part in and make changes for the better, to the world.”
“For us, we are very lucky, this has given us bigger and better opportunities. This shows we can contribute to the challenges faced, because of climate change.”
Prime Henry Puna met with the pupils yesterday and talked about the importance of preserving our oceans for the next generation, and the role of Marae Moana in protecting our ocean. He reminded the students that “our size doesn't limit us, and we can still achieve great things”.
The team will be accompanied by Director of the Centre of Excellence and IT, Mii Nimerota and depart Rarotonga on Monday.
Maka Ponia also put in time and ideas towards the robot project.
The event will bring together more than 1,500 youth from over 191 countries, with the aim to address the world’s most critical environmental issues such as wastage of water and energy, sustainability and pollution through a global robotics competition.