Ready, Set, Robot Time!
The Taguig Robotics Team overcame giant rivals through quick thinking and innovative tinkering.
JERALD UY // 5 MIN READ
Published October 18, 2017
For the Taguig Robotics Team, it was a suspenseful moment.
Facing well-equipped counterparts across the globe at the 2017 FIRA RoboWorld Cup in Kaohshing, Taiwan, held from 23-27 August 2017, the young tech wizards pressed on.
“We competed against Iran, China, Korea, and other Asian countries. Their robots were quite advanced compared to ours,” shared Pierre Alan Romir Pioquid, a student of Senator Renato “Compañero” Cayetano Memorial Science and Technology High School. “But deep down, we believed we had the fighting spirit to go far in the competition. We did our best and it bore fruit because we won.”
The team is composed of Pioquid, his schoolmates Madelle Diez, Philip Leonard Diez, John David Golenia, Aron Sean Michael Pioquid; and Samuel Tabernero from Kapitan Eddie T. Reyes Integrated School. The City Government of Taguig shouldered their travel expenses for the competition.
During the “sumobot-like” Cliffhanger competition, the students built a robot that knocked an opponent out of the Dohyo or Cliffhanger ring. They won gold in this category, much to their surprise.
Later, they competed in the Mission Impossible category where the team created an 8.5” x 11” robot using limited materials like Styrofoam, popsicle sticks, BBQ sticks, glue sticks, micro-controllers, DC motors, paper cups, distance and ultrasonic sensors. The task was to make the robot float while following a line path placed underwater. They won the silver award in the contest.
“It was overwhelming when we won. Our competitors’ robots were very advanced, so we were shocked. We thought we had no chance of winning,” Pioquid added.
The students recalled that opposing teams had robots created from boards that the Philippine team could not afford. Still, Philip Leonard Diez said they gave their best in the competition, thinking that they were not only representing Taguig City, but also the entire country.
“Not letting our supporters down became another motivation, because they were important contributors to our success—the reason why the Taguig Robotics Team became possible,” he said.
More recently, the team participated in the World Robot Games last 10-11 November 2017 in Singapore where they bagged the silver medal in the 1kg Sumobot Family Edition, bronze in the Firefighting Robot category, another bronze for the 5kg Remote Controlled Sumobot, and Performance Awards for three of their members.
Taguig Robotics Team head coach Sheryl Tabernero said the passion and interest of the students enabled them to perform better than they expected in the competition.
“It’s best to teach robotics to children at a young age because it develops their analytical and mechanical skills. They learn various concepts on how to program and manipulate robots. It also enhances their electrical skills because they already know how to connect wires,” Tabernero said.
The students added that robotics knows neither age nor gender. “People think robotics is for boys only, that it’s not for girls,” shared Madelle Diez, the only female member of the team. “But I think robotics is for everyone. If it’s what you’re interested in, you should pursue it because it makes you happy and it’s your passion.”
Samuel Tabernero, the youngest member of the team, agrees. “If you want to get into robotics, don’t be shy because if you have the talent, you should show it and share it,” he said.
Excelling in robotics is not just about having expensive equipment and advanced technology. It is fueled by inventiveness and creativity, a willingness to think outside the box. And that’s exactly what these brilliant minds have shown us.
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