Pune March 26, 2019: Team Gaganauts, a select group of 9 Robot enthusiasts between the ages of 11 to 13 and hailing from Pune, have won the opportunity to represent India at the forthcoming FLL 2018/19 Open International Robot Competition in Izmir, Turkey, in May 2019, by winning the coveted Best Robot Performance award at the India-West Nationals event, held in Mumbai recently.
More than 100 teams from over 70 countries are expected to participate at the event in Izmir, where Gaganauts will have the opportunity to showcase and benchmark India’s talent to the entire world.
Team Gaganauts are from Robominds, a Pune based technical workshop for children, that was setup in 2013 by the wife and husband duo, Prakalpa and Chris Bastianpillai to promote Science, Technology, Engineering, Math and Design (STEM-D) activities through hands-on, experiential learning, and comprises of Aditi Sawant (Vibgyor High School), Ira Karmarkar (AbhinavEnglish Medium School), Dhruv Sawant (Vibgyor High School), Anay Chauhan (Bishops School), SifarJirgale (DLRC), Mihir Melinkeri (Loyola High School), Aditya Melinkeri (New India School), Yuvaan Patwardhan (SevaSadan School) and Satvik Sharma (PICT Model School). The team was coached by ex-students and Interns of Robominds, Kanish and Siddharth Thiagarajan, and assisted by Intern, Surbhi Bhandari.
Over the years, Robominds has been responsible for coaching several teams for the internationally acclaimed Robot competitions organized by FIRST and the World Robot Olympiad Association, each of which attract over 350,000 children from around 90 countries to participate annually. Robominds has been a consistent performer in these competitions since 2014, with teams progressing to compete at the National Championships and then progressing to represent India at the International events, winning several coveted awards, both on the National and International stages.
Each year, FIRST presents a real-world issue as a theme for the competition, where teams have to identify opportunitiesthrough research and come up with their own scientific solution, in addition to designing and building an autonomous robot to complete a set of challenges within 2½ minutes. Thecurrent theme isINTO ORBIT where teams have to identify and solve issues faced during long term manned space exploration. Team Gaganauts designed a spaceship that would simulate gravity during flight, using the principle of centrifugal force, in addition to constructing the spaceships from the Moon’s surface by 3-D printing of parts with regolith, and launching it from there to save on fuel required to escape the Earth’s atmosphere. Lack of gravity in space and the excessive amount of energy required to escape from the earth’s atmosphere is what prevents human beings from undertaking long term space missions. So far, man has only been able to travel to the moon. it’s hoped that the ideas developed by the team will enable long term manned space travel to distant galaxies in the future.
In addition to being judged on their project, teams are also judged on their Core Values, where they are assessed on how they work togetherand with other competing teams, and instil the values of FIRST in their daily lives. Robot Design is also judged on innovation, uniqueness, build quality, operational reliability, software techniques, and strategy. Through participation, students develop their creative, logical, analytical, and management skills at a young age in addition to developing their soft skills such as communication, presentation, and team-work.
We look forward to these bright young minds continuing to grow and learn, and bring laurels to the nation for many years to come.
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