Strong Showing for Robotics team
Posted: July 24, 2012
Congratulations to the St. Andrew’s Robotics team for making the semifinals this summer at the international RoboCup competition in Mexico City.
“Our robots were the best they’ve ever been,” notes Terry Prezens, who teaches computer science in the Upper School and accompanied the team to Mexico June 18-23. “But we experienced technical difficulties at the most inopportune times.”
The technical glitches were not only a source of frustration but also shut down their chance of repeating last year’s triumph at the world championships in Istanbul, Turkey, when a team from SAC won first place.
RoboCup is a formidable challenge for students involved in robotic engineering. Teams must program their robots to “think” for themselves–using infrared detectors, ultrasonic range finders, and a compass–as they manoeuvre an indoor soccer field and try to score goals.
The robot soccer tournament was created to promote robotics and artificial intelligence, and it brings together the best in the world. It really is like World Cup soccer, except the players never talk back to the referees.
SAC’s team–consisting of six 2013 classmates, Gerardo Gadsden Gonzalez, Joel Lat, William Liang, David McMillan, Peter Wu and Tom Yuan–went head-to-head against China’s Shenzen Experimental School during the RoboCupJunior Soccer Challenge’s semifinal match. Shenzen went on to win the championship in the secondary division lightweight category.
According to Terry, Shenzen is a perennial world champion team so there was no room for error going up against them. “The boys had their best game, and against any other team it would have assured us a victory, but against Shenzen it just wasn’t enough.”
Still, even in adversity SAC’s team showed tremendous grit and determination. They tackled the technical glitches they encountered and never gave up. Both Terry and Claudio Numa Upper School Head of Modern Languages, were impressed with what they witnessed.
“We were very proud of the boys,” states Terry. “They worked through the technical problems and learned so much. After the semifinals there were still discussions about how they will improve their robots and return next year to do better.”
Story by Lorne Chase