Students break robot assembling record_from thejakartapost.com

The Jakarta Post ,  Jakarta   |  Sun, 08/16/2009 12:22 PM  |  Headlines

The country’s Independence Day has a different meaning for everyone. For some primary students it meant striving to break a robot-assembling record. And so they did on Saturday.

As many as 550 primary school students of the Penabur Christian Educational Foundation (or the BPK Penabur) gathered at Ciputra Mall to see it happen.

The activity was among a package of events that included bazaars and performances to celebrate Indonesia’s Independence Day, which falls on Aug 17. With hundreds of children drawn into one activity, it unsurprisingly congested one section of the mall.

Nevertheless, participants – and visitors – seemed absorbed enough to ignore the hodgepodge of activities going on around them.

Two boys were trying to make their robots – colorful assemblies of wires and wheels forming what appears to be half-baked racing cars – run according to the “S”-shaped white tracks on the test-drive tablets.

According to the school foundation’s operating director Winifrid Prayogi, those simple “S” lines determine whether participants’ robots were qualified to be part of the event or not.

“The robots assembled in these events are called line tracers, which mean they must move according to the lines.

“Line tracers are among the simplest robots that were introduced in the BPK Penabur’s robotic extracurricular activity.”

Not all participants had attended the robotic afterschool class, though.

“I attend the table tennis extracurricular activity,” sixth-grader Jeremiah Prabowo said.

“I only joined this event to gain more experience.”

According to Rida Kusrida, Mal Ciputra’s spokesperson, the event was to encourage youngsters to participate more in the robotic field.

“We hoped that those who did not attend robotic extracurricular class will participate too.”

The event also included an exhibition of exceptional creations, such as the fire-extinguishing robot, designed and constructed by three junior high students: Chandra Lewis, Nico Fendy, and Selia Evanny.

The robot managed to gain victory over the creations of university students in the 2009 Information and Communications Technology (ICT) Awards.

Despite promising prospects of the robotic field, many Indonesians were still strangers to the technology, Winifrid said.

“We must try to join the ranks of the developed. Now that’s what I call a struggle.” (dis)

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