The RoboCup contest took place from 17 to 23 July 2015 in the Chinese city Hefei with the participation of several hundred teams from more than 45 countries. Pupils from the P. Jilemnického Elementary School in Zvolen competed in the junior category Rescue Line Primary. The task was to build a fully autonomous robot and follow a marked course, complete various tasks, and collect as many points as possible in eight competition rounds. After three rounds, the RoboGen team occupied fourteenth place in this category. A nice result for the novices, especially considering how they were right behind last year’s winners.
Round after round the improving results pushed the RoboGen team into the Super Teams contest, which they won together with their Chinese colleagues, making them world champions. A key element of the competition was co-operation: two teams with two robots fulfilled two unknown missions on two different tracks to produce a single result. The talented boys from Zvolen managed to construct a completely new robot together with the Chinese team in just a few hours, which would prove crucial to their overall victory.
Despite the excellent result, occupying the top spot on the table in the competition was not the most important thing for the young men from Zvolen. “Throughout the whole competition we had the feeling that the goal and whole point of the mutual battles was to learn together and move forward. The atmosphere was very friendly, and we all helped and advised each other, and we inspired each other with ideas and solutions. We learned there in a few days what would have taken us years at home. And we got to meet new people and new cultures. Our team’s real success was that we took part. We didn’t go to win. The fact that together with the excellent Chinese we managed to succeed among the Super Teams really pleases us, of course,” said RoboGen team captain Dominik Radler.
The benefit was confirmed also by their school director Ľuboslava Bieliková: “The boys would never have learned in Slovakia as much as they did at the world championships. Every day we witnessed huge progress, motivation and a hungry desire to work on new problems even at night. The teams that our pupils met and worked with had different backgrounds, equipment and experience. Our pupils were better than we thought, though, and coped excellently with new and unexpected situations. We are proud that they are world champions. We will utilise the acquired knowledge and experience when including robotics to the adapted school curricula and the pupils themselves will play a part in their creation. Our sincerest thanks go to the company PosAm for the help and professional support, and we look forward to future co-operation.”
RoboGen Team from Zvolen
Team RoboGen is led by informatics teacher Maroš Hudík. The team members are Martin Katriňák (8c), Dominik Radler (8c), Andrej Slovák (8c), Matúš Garaj (6c) and Tomáš Hitka (5c). The boys chose the team name from their field of interest (robotics) and from the name of the special programme for gifted children APROGEN (Alternative Education Programme for Giftedness), of which they are part.
More about the RoboCup contest
The tradition of the event started back in 1997. It was intended to promote robotics and progress in the development of artificial intelligence. The vision is that in future a team of fully autonomous humanoid robots – football players, will beat a real team of champions made of flesh and bone. In recent years, hundreds of teams from tens of countries from all over the world have taken part in the robotic championships. Even the youngest players are catered for as part of the event. In the junior categories of RoboCup Junior the teams battle it out in three categories: Soccer, Dance and Rescue.
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