Editor's Note: The following comes from a press release issued by Benilde-St. Margaret's.
Advanced Competitive Science (ACS) Program placed eighth in the world at the RoboCupRescue tournament, held in Mexico City, Mexico, June 18-24.
Ten 2012 BSM graduates represented the school. The group was not only the sole program from the United States to qualify, but also the only group as low as high-school level selected to compete. BSM was one of 12 teams invited to participate based on previous impressive results in similar competitions, as well as submission of a technical paper.
The category in which the group competed was the search and rescue division, which, according to the RoboCup website, “specifically promotes research in socially significant issues.”
While RoboCupRescue is technically a competitive tournament, BSM’s ACS Director Timothy Jump emphasized that BSM’s purpose in participating relates more to collaborative research. Having already contributed systems that have been re-created and used by others in this field, the Red Knights are well respected as an engineering group.
“The whole reason in participating in these types of competitions is to stimulate research,” Jump said. In addition, by having all ACS Program students work on these advanced tasks, Jump said, “We are able to offer higher levels of learning to our students."
While BSM has regularly performed well in competitions—both nationally and internationally—“It is not about winning,” Jump said.
“We’re part of a research consortium,” which provides unique opportunities for our students. Still, the Red Knights were very pleased with their performance and excited about their results. As Jump noted, “Not too shabby for the high school from Minnesota!”
Other countries that took part in the most recent competition included Germany, Iran, Japan, Mexico, South Africa and Thailand. In the search and rescue league, the Iranian team, MRL, finished first, followed by Hector Darmstadt from Germany in second. Third place was a tie between YRA from Iran and Stabalize from Thailand. BSM finished ahead of universities from Japan, South Africa and two from Mexico. Often popular participants in these competitions, the BSM group received plenty of attention, not only from other competitors, but also from the media, even being shadowed for a while this time by a film crew that submits footage to CNN.
The BSM students who made up the Red Knight RoboRescue Squad were Teddy Brown, Levi Caffes, Sam Conley, Patrick Freese, Alex Herbst, Emily Herrmann, Carter McNew, Nicole Sauer, Paul Sonsalla and Brian Tobelmann.
Next year’s students will strive to repeat as international competitors. Jump said that goals for the upcoming robot are already in mind.
“Two things we know we need are new belts/drives and mapping. The MRL team from Iran talked to us quite a bit about their approaches to each of these and we have images of their custom chain drive and their map," he said. "These concepts are good starting points heading into the 2013 RoboCup year.”
The group also took some time to sightsee, visiting the Bazar del Sábado in San Angel, the Coyoacan Cathedral and the Teotihuacan pyramids.
Read more on the group’s blog at http://ACSatBSM.wordpress.com.