GUÁCIMA, ALAJUELA, Costa Rica—Hundreds of robots—some designed to play 3D Tetris or soccer, others to tackle some of Earth’s dire sustainability challenges—invaded this small Costa Rican town last weekend.
The machines were accompanied by their creators: 2,500 competitors, ages six to 25, from more than 60 countries, at the 14th World Robot Olympiad (WRO) held Nov. 10–12. This was the first time in the event’s 14-year history that it was held outside Asia. As host, Costa Rica had to decide the competition’s theme and chose “Sustainabots”—robots designed to contribute to sustainability, conservation and the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals. The conservation-minded Central American country, which has over 25 percent of its territory under protected areas, has launched official efforts to eventually become a carbon-neutral nation by drastically minimizing the use of fossil fuels for power generation and transportation.
Visitors strolling through the Olympiad’s exhibit booths found robotic approaches to reducing CO2 emissions from cars in streets of Mumbai; to quickly growing cattle feed without clearing land; and to venturing into the forest to count trees, map their locations, identify their species and determine dozens of other characteristics that might otherwise be carried out by a human botanist.
“For the youngsters, this is not only a way for them to view science and technology as something fun and playful, but also for them
Article source: https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/ldquo-sustainable-robots-rdquo-face-off-at-the-world-robotic-olympiad1/
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