By Chris Teh
The 15th state-level National Robotics Competition (NRC) was held from July 31 to August 1 at SJKC Wan Hwa 1, Lahat. Over 200 students from primary and secondary schools in Perak participated in the competition.
The objective was to instil interest in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) in students. The event was jointly organised by the Ministry of Education and Sasbadi Holdings Berhad, an education solutions company.
With a catchy theme, “Smart City” to boot, participants were required to develop robotic solutions to improve infrastructures and city operations with emphasis on energy saving, safer traffic and improved public transport systems.
“With the surge in artificial intelligence, robotics and software, 54% of jobs in Malaysia will be replaced by automation within the next 20 years,” said Mohd Suhaimi, Director of Perak State Education Department, in his opening remarks.
According to him, the NRC is one of the platforms for students to learn STEM skills in a hands-on manner.
“It’s important for our younger generation to be equipped with STEM and 21st-century skills to ensure that they’re able to embrace technology and be capable of solving problems using creativity and critical thinking,” he explained.
The competition was divided into four categories; Regular Pro and Regular Rookie (for first-timers), NRC Football and STEM Invention and Innovation. Teams from different schools participated in one of the four categories and were evaluated in practical and creative aspects.
The team from SMK Seri Kelebang, Menglembu consisting of Chee Qiao Yi, 16, Chee Yong Kang, 15 and Toh Wei Kang, 16, won the NRC Football category. Their creation of two autonomous robots, a goalkeeper and a shooter were programmed to compete against each other.
“The idea of developing footballer robotics has been in our minds since we were in primary school,” said Qiao Yi. “Thanks to guidance from our coach, we’re able to make football robotics a reality.”
“The challenge, though, is the change in materials for creating the robots. Our hands got tired pretty easily,” she sighed.
Winning teams will compete in the NRC Finals 2019 at AIMST University, Bedong, Kedah from September 20 to 22, sponsored by LEGO Education.
For more information, visit http://nrc.sasbadi.com.