DOHA, QATAR – Al Ru’ya Bilingual School from Kuwait is the overall champion of the 6th Regional Botball Robotics Challenge held at Carnegie Mellon University in Qatar on Friday. American School of Doha and Doha College from Qatar were the 2nd and 3rd place winners in an exciting double elimination challenge with enthusiastic crowds of family and friends cheering the teams on. It was a day to be proud of for Al Ru’ya Bilingual School, as they remained undefeated to the end. This is the second overall regional Botball title for Al Ru’ya Bilingual School, which was crowned overall champion at the 2007 regional Botball challenge.
“Number one on our side was teamwork,” said Fahad Zaman, one of the programmers of the winning team. “We all worked really well together. Second on our side were lessons learned from last year’s tournament. This year we went with one robot, and built it the best we could.” Waleed Omar, the second programmer on the team, and Mohammed Abdul Nasser, the designer, agreed: “We complimented each other with what we do best – good programming, a good design and documentation.”
This year’s challenge had more than 200 students from 30 schools around the Middle East region participating in the final regional challenge with schools from Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, UAE, Bahrain, Zimbabwe and Qatar competing. The teams from Bahrain, Abu Dhabi and Zimbabwe participated for the first time in the program. The regional participation and interest in the robotics tournament has increased significantly since Carnegie Mellon brought Botball to the region in 2005 with four teams taking part in the inaugural event.
Botball is an action packed robotics challenge for middle and high-school students that develops excitement, knowledge, and practical understanding through hands-on experience with science, technology, engineering, and math. Students learn to program their robots using C, the most widely used programming language in industry and academia. Botball gives students the tools to develop sophisticated strategies using artificial intelligence with embedded systems.
“This year’s Regional Botball Challenge saw more teams than ever before from more countries than ever before, indicating that the program continues to grow,” said Brett Browning, Ph.D., Senior Systems Scientist,
. “High school students get very involved and excited about the program. Building a robot and getting it to work is challenging. They get engaged with science, technology, computer science, sensors, mechanical engineering, electronics – a whole range of areas that they bring together to get their robot to perform. They interact with and learn from each other. Carnegie Mellon’s Botball program fits right into the vision of Education City, where students experience that kind of full and well-rounded involvement. We hope that these students see what Education City has to offer through programs like this, and apply to one of the great schools here. So far, we have seen signs of success. In fact, many of the undergraduate judges in this year’s tournament competed in past tournaments.” Carnegie Mellon University
The annual Botball season kicked off in Doha with a two-day workshop on February 26 and 27, and in Cairo on March 5 and 6. At these workshops participants received information about the competition and were given robot kits and reusable components to build their own Lego Mindstorm robot. The students learned about current robotics technologies and how to apply the physics and math concepts to design, build and program the competing robots to maneuver autonomously across a game board, performing tasks according to the program theme.
The program theme this year focused on environmental safety and pollution. During the tournament, teams faced-off against each other with their robots scoring points for completing specified tasks related to this theme, such as rescuing ducks from an oil spill, during a two-minute round. The winner is the team whose robot scored the most points with the best time.
Al Ru’ya Bilingual School will receive a trip to Edwardsville, Illinois in July to attend the 2010 Global Conference on Educational Robotics and meet middle school and high school students, robot enthusiasts, and professionals from around the world, and to compete in the 2010 International Botball Tournament.
Participating schools at the regional final tournament were:
- From Qatar: Al Bayan Secondary School, Doha College, Doha Independent Secondary School for Boys, Doha Montessori and British School, Al Khor International School, Lebanese School, Nasser Bin Abdullah Al-Attiya, Al-Wakra Independent Secondary School for Boys, American School of Doha, Omar Bin Al Khattab Scientific Secondary School, Hamza Bin Abed Mutalib Preparatory Independent School for Boys, Ahmed Bin Mohammed Al Thani Independent Secondary School for Boys, Qatar Academy, Al Resala Secondary Independent School for Girls, Al Ieman Secondary Independent School and Amna Bint Wahab Independent Secondary School.
- From the United Arab Emirates: Al Mawakeb School (Al Barsha), Al Mawakeb School (Al Garhoud), International School of Arts and Sciences and American Community School of Abu Dhabi.
- From Saudi Arabia: Al-Riyadh School for Boys, Al-Riyadh School for Girls
- From Kuwait: Al Ru’ya Bilingual School and the British School of Kuwait.
- From Egypt: Canadian International School of Egypt, International School of Choueifat – Cairo
- From Zimbabwe: Harare International School
Botball® was created in 1997 by the KISS Institute for Practical Robots (KIPR). The Botball® Educational Robotics Program engages middle and high school aged students in a team-oriented robotics competition based on National Science Education Standards. For more information, visit www.botball.org.
ABOUT CARNEGIE MELLON
With more than a century of academic excellence and distinguished research, Carnegie Mellon University is a leader in education with real-world applications. Consistently top ranked, the University has more than 11,000 students, 84,000 alumni and 4,000 faculty and staff globally. Core values of innovation, creativity, collaboration and problem solving provide the foundation for everything we do.
At the invitation of Qatar Foundation, Carnegie Mellon joined Education City in 2004. Here, Qatar Foundation created a unique center for scholarship and research that is the ideal complement to Carnegie Mellon’s mission and vision. Students from Qatar and 30 different countries enroll at our world-class facilities in Education City. Carnegie Mellon Qatar offers undergraduate programs in business administration, computer science and information systems. Learn more at www.qatar.cmu.edu.