The Philippines’s adventure into space is getting more exciting. After the launching into space of small satellites Diwata-1 and 2 and Maya-1, Filipinos—especially elementary and high-school students—are now setting their eyes on the world beyond our planet.
One of the concerns in the government’s space program is the sustainability of human resources. In answer to this, the Department of Science and Technology (DOST), the University of the Philippines and other universities are currently offering courses leading to expertise in satellite technology.
But the space scientists and government leaders need not worry—because even the Filipino schoolchildren are already into it.
Two teams of young students from the Philippines won two top awards in the For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology (FIRST) Lego League World Championship held in Houston, Texas, from April 15 to 21 for their projects concerning astronauts in space.
The impressive creations of the Philippine Robotics National Team made the life of astronauts in space cozier.
The national delegation, comprised two teams—DYCI Blue Ocean’s 10 from Dr. Yanga’s College Inc. (ages 12 to 17) and Team CYLLO from De La Salle Zobel (ages 6 to 12).
DYCI’s Blue Ocean’s 10, with team members Jocas Arabella Cruz, Abigail Silva, Denise Carpio, Naiah Nicole Mendoza, Raingel Vryse Mendoza, Rodel Christian Alcantara, Ma. Anne Geline Doneth de la Rama, Paul Jaren Perez, Lara Monique Narciso, Head Coach Beryl Jhan Cruz and Assistant Coach Lemuel Francisco, emerged as Champion’s Award Finalist for their work, titled “Project Fuse,” besting 109 teams from 74 countries.
Their winning piece is a virtual reality game that connects astronauts in space to their families on Earth through live virtual-reality video chat with physical interaction through a robot.
This year’s challenge, “Into Orbit,” tasked students to explore how to solve the physical and social problems associated with long-duration space flight.
Team CYLLO won the Explore and Discover Award with their project that aims to solve the problem of supplying enough food and oxygen to astronauts on the moon by creating a robot that can sustain the life of cyanobacteria.
The challenge for the Junior League, “Mission Moon,” was to learn about the Earth’s moon and what is needed to live there.
The team, composed of Zoie Francesca Aldave, Chito Salunga Roxas Jr., Franc Andre Dimatatac, Eduardo Matteo Valdez, Emmanuel Jace Savellano, Robert Philip Lim, with Head Coach Heinz Elorde and Assistant Coach Genevieve Pillar, bested 43 countries.
Dubbed as “the world’s largest celebration of STEM [science, technology, engineering and mathematics] for students,” the FIRST Championship brings together tens of thousands of students from around the world who participate in the K to 12 Robotics program.
This year, around 34,000 teams participated and only 109 teams reached the World Championships.
“The Philippines holds the Champion Award center stage in International Robotics and will continue to excel and showcase the brilliance of the Filipino Youth,” according to Felta Multi-Media Inc. President and CEO Mylene Abiva, who accompanied the team and is the national organizer of the Philippine Robotics Olympiad FLL Philippines and the first World Robot Olympiad Ambassador.
Dr. Josette Biyo, director of Science Education Institute (DOST-SEI), lauded the team’s triumph in the international stage.
“We thank our young robotics champions and the people behind their team for bringing honor to the country and inspiring others to get into robotics. This victory further motivates us at DOST-SEI to continue supporting our emerging robotics experts,” Biyo said.
The Philippine Robotics National Team is set to compete again at the FLL European Open Championship in Izmir, Turkey, from May 20 to 27. S&T Media Service
Image credits: FELTA