Primary school pupils engaged in robotics

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IN CONJUNCTION with the MTDC Technology Conference and Exhibition (MTCE) 2019, MTDC co-organised an I4.0 Robotics & Drone Bootcamp and Competition with its partners, Politeknik Kota Kinabalu and Universiti Teknologi MARA.

Over 90 participants from 11 primary schools, other educational and organisational institutions took part in the Robotics & Drone Bootcamp and Competition.

The two-day bootcamp was held two days prior to the competition to educate and train the primary school pupils on how to construct robots. The self-constructed robots were then used by them during the competition.

The aim of the bootcamp was to encourage participation of the younger generation into IR4.0. To make a successful robot, students were taught block programming and coding. They were also taught about the materials used to construct a reliable robot.

“This bootcamp enhanced the students’ critical thinking skill as they had to come up with solutions each time they faced failure. It is not only about constructing a successful robot. Each time a student fails, he learns something new from it. And this is what we want,” said Julkifli Awang Besar, a lecturer from Politeknik Kota Kinabalu.

According to him, the students did not show any signs of difficulty during the bootcamp sessions. They enjoyed themselves throughout the block programming lessons.

Among the Robotics and Drone competition held were line tracking, robot soccer and autonomous drone for the primary school category. The open category competition was called the High Speed Line Tracer.

The students were very enthusiastic and highly competitive during the competition. According to Dr Sukreen Hana Herman, a lecturer from UiTM , this competition is different from the rest because it encourages students from all backgrounds to participate. There were participants from Sekolah Buku Jalanan Chow Kit, an NGO led by Siti Rahayu Baharin. This NGO was set up for urban poor people in Chow Kit, Kuala Lumpur.

Speaking to The Petri Dish at the prize giving ceremony, Dato’ Norhalim Yunus, Chief Executive Officer of MTDC said technology cannot stand on its own. It needs to be supported by people. Many students are interested in robotics but were not given the opportunity to explore and learn. We used this conference as a platform to expose participants to the I4.0 and IR4.0 ecosystem at an earlier stage.