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Okanagan College hosts annual Western Canada RoboCup Junior games

Two students at Okanagan College’s annual Western Canada RoboCup Junior games on Friday.
Two students at Okanagan College’s annual Western Canada RoboCup Junior games on Friday. Global News

The science behind an annual robot competition, say organizers, is to get today’s youth interested in science, technology, engineering and math.

At Okanagan College on Friday, 13 teams took part in the 14th annual Western Canada RoboCup Junior games. The yearly gathering features students showcasing competitive robots that they’ve built.

The robots are completely autonomous and are programmed to follow certain signals within competition.

Soccer playing and rescue robots were the two main categories in which participants went head-to-head.

READ MORE: Alberta youth compete in Lego robot challenge

Electronics engineering professor Nadir Ould- Kressal told Global News that “instead of using just simple Lego platforms off the shelves, [the students] are designing their own robots.”
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In turn, professors say they hope to see students eyeing possible careers in the science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) industry.

One competitor, Jackson Beetlestone, says he’s been competing for a number of years and has attended the worlds once before.

Beetlestone said he entered this year’s competition with his younger brother, Jude, whom he called “the master builder.”

UBC studying how therapeutic robot can help dementia patients
UBC studying how therapeutic robot can help dementia patients

Jackson is a senior in high school, while Jude is in Grade 9.

The two brothers say they’re looking forward to seeing how technology will play a role in society, with Jackson adding “robotics is going to start expanding very, very quickly as technology starts progressing.”

Jackson said he’s to further his career by enrolling in electrical engineering, while Jude says he’s going to “follow in my brother’s footsteps and compete in a national robotics tournament.”

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According to Okanagan College professors, there’s a real need for skilled workers in a variety of careers, including electronics.

During the next month, Okanagan College will be inviting area to attend events aimed at encouraging the exploration of its STEM program.

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