February 9, 2023

The Covid-19 restrictions and lack of materials did not deter six students of Abra High School from participating in the World Robot Games (WRG) online edition.

Their determination paid off as they bagged two bronze medals for their functional robot entries in the March 25 to April 15 contest, teacher and coach Jephunneh Gasmen said.

The two teams of grades 9 and 10 students, aged 13 and 14, got help from adult family members, who scoured junk shops, automotive repair shops, and other sources in Bangued for recyclables needed to create the entries.

The students came up with projects that can help prevent the spread of the Covid-19.

The portable dual-powered renewable energy source hands-free sanitation station was created by Grade 9 students Marc Dei Neil Bides and David James Rayver Viado, and eighth grader Venice Balbin.

The second project is the disinfection channel – sensor-automatic and contactless – of Keneth Serunno, Ma. Teresa Viste, and Sheffaly Daime Valencia, all Grade 10 students.

 “It was difficult (putting them together) because the students did not have their own complete kits to allow them to create and practice on their own to make the project,” Gasmen said.

Another challenge was the students were locked down in their homes, preventing the school from directly supervising the completion of the project.

“They had to research online. We meet online but the difficult Internet signal was also a challenge. Some were just on audio and unable to see what is being done,” Gasmen shared.

The parents also chipped in to purchase two robot-making kits that moved from one house to another.

The kit contains the microcontroller or the “brain” needed to make the robot function.

For about six months, Viste said her team developed concepts, constructed and pilot tested robots, and gathered data.

The pilot testing allowed the students to fix and revise their entries.

“It will sense you when you enter the room and automatically disinfect you for three seconds,” Vistre said.

Viado said the hands-free hand sanitation station has a dispensing system for water, soap, and alcohol.

“Dual power source that is a solar panel and the microbial fuel cell or the water used in washing hands can be used to power it,” Viado said.

He said his experience growing up playing in his father’s auto shop and being allowed to touch whatever he wanted helped in his feat.

Judges validated the functionality of the entry via live performance of the contestants.

The theme for WRG2021 is “New world after Covid.”

Gasmen said it was the second time that their school joined the WRG.

The first was in 2019 in Thailand where grade 10 student Meljon Viste, 16, also took home a bronze for his “enviro robot” that can pick and take out garbage from canals and waterways. – PNA