FIRST Global Team Cyprus
In February 2017, a letter of invitation was sent to Dr. Pericles Cheng of the European University Cyprus to build a team of students aged 15-18 that would participate in the inaugural international competition FIRST Global. The team was selected from a group of students with previous robotics experience from Epiteugma Training Center in Nicosia. Christos Soteriou, Antreas Kourris, Gregoris Orphanides, Michalis Pitsillis and Mairylin Stavrou were the five students selected to participate in the global event. These students have previously excelled in other world competitions such as the World Robot Olympiad where the students got first places in Cyprus and represented Cyprus in the world event in India in 2016. In 2017 the students participated in the Robotex Cyprus Challenge gaining first and second places in most categories in the event. They will also represent Cyprus in the world event in Estonia at the end of 2017. Their mentor, Dr. Pericles Cheng, is an instructor at the European University Cyprus with academic experience in educational robotics and previous experience in world robotics competitions.
FIRST Global is a not-for-profit public charity aiming to provide the framework for an “Olympics”-style robotics challenge. The theme of the FIRST Global competition is based on one of the 14 major scientific grand challenges, namely providing access to clean water. 157 countries have accepted the invitation and are participating in the event. In addition to the 157, another 6 teams representing every inhabitable continent were created to show the truly global nature of the competition.
The students and their mentor have been working on developing their robot for the past three months with daily meetings while tackling every other aspect of their daily lives. They have tirelessly worked on developing a solution for the problem provided and even though they were not able to acquire any funding for their participation, their parents, understanding the importance of such an experience, agreed to pay for their expenses to come and take part in the competition. At the end of the first day of the competition, the Cyprus team held the 16th position out of 163 and at the end of the second day of competition the team finished in the 65th place out of 163. This is a huge accomplishment since the team had no prior experience with the platform used in the competition.