Wednesday, April 14, 2010

King Felafel Wins US Robot Competition

Article Ant & Arutz Sheva report:

A team of teenagers from the Upper Galilee's Misgav High School has won the 17th annual Fire Fighting Home Robot competition in the United States for the second year in a row. They named their robot K.O.F. – "King of Falafel" -- to honor their favorite food in the contest held at Trinity College in Hartford, Connecticut. (A7)

Misgav team, whose robot was called K.O.F. (King of Falafel – in honor of the students’ favorite food), competed in Sunday’s fire fighting contest in which its autonomous-controlled robot had to navigate a maze, extinguish a flame and return to the starting point in the fastest time. The coach of the team was Haim Driben and the students were Eyal Shifman, Ram Gerassy, Yuval Zach-Zlica and Zur Shental.

The K.O.F. team was one of six from Misgav High School, which has become a perennial contestant in the two-day event, which typically takes place in April, when the Oosting Gym is filled with large wooden mazes, posters, and multi-lingual students fiddling with their laptop computers and colorful, awe-inspiring robots.

This year, as was the case in 2009, the competition was spread over two days, with the RoboWaiter contest held Saturday and the fire fighting contest held Sunday. RobotWaiter, with its emphasis on socially assistive robotics, was co-sponsored by the Connecticut Council on Developmental Disabilities. The lead sponsor of the entire weekend was Versa Products Company, Inc., whose president and CEO is Jan Larrson, ’77.

The degree of difficulty in the RoboWaiter contest was particularly high, as the robots had to circumvent a chair, grasp a plate of food from a shelf, go around a grandmotherly figure and deliver the food to an older man seated at a table. None of the dozen or so teams that entered the competition were successful, though several came close. Both the chair and the grandmother took a beating, and the plateful of Cocoa Krispies frequently ended up on the floor.

“In spite of the unfortunate incidents, the spirit of the students was unbelievable and they really bounced back,” said Frank Reed, vice chairman of the council on disabilities. “They weren’t discouraged at all. They believe in themselves.” (Article Ant)

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