Team Bangladesh, comprising of the most experienced high school roboticists in the country, will be among 190 other participating teams at the event
A Bangladeshi high school team is all set to participate in the For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology (FIRST) Global Challenge 2019, an international robotics event, held every year to ignite passion for Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) education among youths worldwide.
Team Bangladesh, comprising of the most experienced high school roboticists in the country, will be among 190 other participating teams at the event. The challenge will take place from October 24 to October 27.
For the team, it will be their third foray at the FIRST Challenge – with Tech Academy, a project they have been working on for over four years.
The Tech Academy is a social enterprise, based in Bangladesh, which has been teaching engineering, programming, and mechatronics to children, and teenagers since 2013.
Meet the team
The team comprises of core members Sujoy Mahmud, Mahi Zarif, Abrar Jawad, Razeen Ali, and Shoaib Mirza, and mentors Adrian Dip Mohanta, Shams Jaber, and Kazi Fahmid Hassan.
Their website describes them as "passionate individuals who have an immense amount of patriotism. They care deeply about the country, and its problems, and are eager to use their skills, knowledge, and experience to make a contribution towards it."
For the past few years, Sujoy, Mahi, Abrar, Razeen, Dip, and Shoaib – have been practicing robotics process automation from watching YouTube tutorials.
They were passionate about robotics since they were children, and the lack of facilities pertaining to robotics did not dissuade them while growing up.
Shams Jaber, one of the mentors, used to be a student of business. But visits to the engineering lab in his university aroused his curiosity.
In 2015, he established The Tech Academy only for school level students.
“Team Bangladesh’s previous, and present members come from Tech Academy. Basically, we are trying to build up robotics process automation from this platform,” Shams told Dhaka Tribune.
Mahi Zarif, hardware leader of Team Bangladesh, said they are working to prepare a selective sports robot with two groups.
“The robot is currently being processed. Hopefully by October 15 we will have the final project ready. And then we will test this for two days before heading to FIRST Challenge,” he added.
How the project may look like?
This year 190 robots will be participating to clean up pollutants from the ocean, represented by foam balls of varying sizes.
Shams said: “We are very optimistic because our robot has been calibrated to handle balls very well.”
Programming leader Sujoy Mahmud said, the team has been working to introduce some automation to the robot, even though two programmers will be controlling it during the challenge.
Team Bangladesh members said, the lack of resources in Bangladesh is a hindrance, and due to that, without sincere support upcoming generations will find it harder to learn about robotics.
The main problem, they said, was the need to bring kits from abroad to build an advanced robot
They claimed that very few universities are working on robotics, like the Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology (BUET), Dhaka University Robotics Department, and a few private universities.
If there was more support in Bangladesh, Team Bangladesh could help improve a lot of technology like other countries, they said.
The event has a different theme every year, based upon the greatest challenges the world is currently facing, in an effort to foster understanding, and cooperation among the youth of the world, as they use their abilities to solve the world’s problems.
On October 20, the team will fly from Dhaka to Dubai.