Avele College to represent Samoa in robotics challenge

Avele College is representing Samoa in the F.I.R.S.T. Global Robotics Challenge, an international knockout style competition that pits teams head-to-head to build robots and display their scientific knowledge. 

The 'For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology' international challenge has drawn more than 200 competing teams this year. 

Avele is teaming up with the Samoa Information Technology Association or S.I.T.A. for the competition, the Association's President, Muliagatele James Ah Wai, said.

From Team S.I.T.A., Muliagatele, the President and Information Technology (I.T.) Manager for the Unit Trust of Samoa (U.T.O.S.), and Project Manager Mailo Henry Mailo will lead the project.

In 2019, Robert Louis Stevenson School represented Samoa at the F.I.R.S.T. challenge held in Dubai. There was no competition held last year due to COVID-19 travel restrictions. 

“This year 2021, despite late entry in mid-August 2021, Avele College has put up its hand to represent Samoa. We, first of all, commend the work by Robert Louis Stevenson School and all the mentors in the past two years,” Muliagatele told the Samoa Observer. 

“[I must make a] special mention of LeMamea Sia Matalavea and the University of the South Pacific for passing the baton to the Samoa Information Technology Association to continue the good work in a partnership with F.I.R.S.T. Global.”

F.I.R.S.T. Global is a United States-based not-for-profit organisation established by the founder of F.I.R.S.T.

Its mission is to inspire leadership and innovation in youth from all nations by empowering them through education in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics — also known by the common abbreviation, S.T.E.M.

The challenge seeks to nurture cross-cultural communication and international cooperation among high-school students on S.T.E.M. to tackle the world’s most pressing challenges with solutions raising global living standards.

The contest is composed of three challenges: The Solution Challenge, Robotics challenge, and CubeSat prototype Challenge

“For Avele College, we have selected something different this year and registered for the CubeSat Prototype Challenge,” Muliagatele said.

CubSates are a kind of miniature satellite for space research. The light weight satellites can be used for the application of earth observation, communication, and weather monitoring, and more.

To construct its entry Avele will use a kit, which includes a microcontroller, camera, and environmental sensors.

“[These materials will] create our CubeSat prototypes to design, build, program, and launch it to the lower layers of the earth's atmosphere,” Muliagatele explained.

The Avele team must select a mission on which they must focus: air or ground pollution sensing, agricultural monitoring; weather measurements; human activity and health; land use; climate change detection; mapping; disaster relief and recovery, and forest health.

“We acknowledge with appreciation the support of Avele College's principal, staff, and selected science students for the opportunity and commitment to represent Samoa. Also, the Ministry of Revenue and Customs team for their great assistance” Muliagatele said.

“Despite the late registration and arrival of the kits, we are focused on teamwork and collaboration between S.I.T.A. and Avele College to get us to the finish line. This will be an eye-opening opportunity for the students to experience such challenging tasks which will be very important for Samoa in years to come.”

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