The team—senior high school student Cristine Mae Matugas, 18, and her coach, Adonis Restie Ochia, 34—recalled how they found ways to overcome their limitations to bring home three medals from the 3-kilogram (Senior) Sumo Robot and the Sumo Robot Extreme categories in the 2019 WRG. AFP/Behrouz Mehri
CEBU, Philippines — The chassis of their Sumo robots are made of chopping board; instead of spring steel for the scoop, they used a putty knife. With ingenuity, the team from Elpidio H. Perez Memorial Technical Vocational High School grabbed top spots in the 2019 World Robotics Games (WRG), held recently in Thailand.
The team—senior high school student Cristine Mae Matugas, 18, and her coach, Adonis Restie Ochia, 34—recalled how they found ways to overcome their limitations to bring home three medals from the 3-kilogram (Senior) Sumo Robot and the Sumo Robot Extreme categories in the 2019 WRG.
Matugas got the first runner-up place in the 3-kilogram Sumo Robot-Senior and the same spot in the Sumo Robot Extreme. Ochia, on the other hand, landed second runner-up in the Sumo Robot Extreme.
Financial aid from Vivant Foundation, the corporate social responsibility arm of the Vivant Group, enabled Ochia and Matugas to participate in the 2019 WRG. They sealed their victory with their creativity and programming skills, beating other teams that had better resources.
Ochia said that they had to innovate using available materials, like kitchen and home construction items, to ensure their robots stand a chance against the more advanced robots of other teams. “Compared to our opponents’ sensors, ours were junk. So we made sure to make our programming better than theirs,” he added.
“We’re very proud of our accomplishment because we were able to compete next to the Thais who are considered a powerhouse in the WRG. We’re also glad that our design has been copied by other robotics teams in the country,” Matugas said.
Bobbie Lavador, a STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) teacher at Elpidio H. Perez Memorial Technical Vocational High School, said that the accomplishment of the school’s robotics team has raised schoolkids’ interest in the field. “Some parents in Danao have even bought robotics kits for their kids. It’s an effective way to boost the imagination and strategy skills of kids,” he said.
Lavador was named champion in the 3-kilogram Sumo robot competition in the 2018 WRG.
“As a forward-looking company, Vivant believes that promoting STEM among our youth will support our mission to provide solutions that enable our industries and communities adapt and thrive in a changing world,” VFI Executive Director Shem Jose Garcia said.
In line with its STEM program, VFI has been supporting the Department of Education 7’s Regional Science and Technology Fair (RSTF) for three years now. The RSTF provides a pool from where Vivant picks the recipient of its full college scholarship. LPM (FREEMAN)
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(Published in The Freeman, 17 November 2019)