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Cook Islands Robotics 2023: FIRST Global Challenge

Monday 2 October 2023 | Written by webmaster | Published in

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Cook Islands Robotics 2023: FIRST Global Challenge
The 2023 Cook Islands Robotics team. From Left: Uleina Eraio, Kimiora Vogel, Kahana Ellison, Dana Enoka and Adison Rowe. CIs ROBOTICS/23093001.

Thousands of students from over 190 countries will gather in Singapore this week from 7 - 10 October for the 2023 FIRST Global Challenge - a globally recognised robotics competition held annually where teams from various nations are invited to construct and programme robots.

In 2019, Team Cook Islands placed 30th from 189 countries in the Dubai FIRST Global competition.

Tomorrow, the Cook Islands Robotics team: Dana Enoka - Co-Captain, Kimiora Vogel - Co-Captain and Programmer, Adison Rowe – Coder/Driver, Uleina Eraio - Build Engineer, and Kahana Ellison - Design Engineer will depart Rarotonga to participate in an exhilarating robotics game.

Over the past six weeks, the students have been learning how to build and programme a robot from zero knowledge, trained by the Centre of Excellence in Information Technology - CEIT, Cook Islands.

Mii Nimerota, Director of CEIT said the students have been training three times a week for three to four hours a session.

Nimerota said: “In addition to the design, build, and coding of the robot, the team also engaged in multiple social media challenges and have assisted young children in the Code Avengers Club as part of their community outreach.”

The 2023 FIRST Global Challenge theme is Renewable Energy - specifically, hydrogen energy - promoting energy efficiency through renewable resources like hydrogen.

The team have been mentored by Jimmy Nimerota - Project Manager and Leader of the Code Avengers and Robotics Programmes, and Tiare Kauvai, who was the first Co-Captain of Team Cook Islands in 2019, - both mentors will accompany the team to Singapore.

“The mentors have also been teaching the students how to use power tools, and various skills needed to construct their robot - as they are required to meet a hardware and software inspection when they arrive at the event,” said Nimerota.

Kauvai said the Cook Islands will align with two other nations (forming a coalition) in the Hydrogen Horizons game, collaborating to construct networks of renewable energy.

She explained that the teams manoeuvre their robots within the simulated game engaging in activities such as hydrogen production, energy storage, transportation, and conversion.

“Building a robot for the first time is the challenge and the highlight of the project.

“None of these students have done robotics before, but, that is a beautiful thing because throughout this process they learnt about coding, about constructing and wiring a robot,” she said.

Jimmy Nimerota noted that despite the challenges during the engineering process, the team found the experience both challenging and exciting.

Team member Uleina Eraio mentioned that initially they faced challenges “actually understanding” the drive robot which took some time to grasp.

Adison Rowe expressed that coding presented a significant challenge for the team since “none of us knew about coding before this, so we all had to really learn it.”

Kahana Ellison mentioned further challenges involved the cascading elevator, specifically regarding the rigging of ropes to facilitate its upward and downward movement.

Dana Enoka said everything was complicated, however, they managed through the process, due to tutorials.

Kimiora Vogel highlighted the rewards of being part of the team as it provided an opportunity to learn about coding and programming.

Team Cook Islands showcased a demonstration and presentation to their family and friends last Thursday evening.

Cook Islands Robotics are “excited and looking forward” to meeting young people and learning about different cultures.

In an online statement FIRST Global expresses that by making science and technology as exciting as any other sport, they can inspire the world’s two billion youth to pursue STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) fields, and become leaders finding solutions to global issues.

The ultimate goal is to promote understanding and cooperation among young individuals worldwide, encouraging them to utilise their skills in finding solutions to global issues.