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Sunday, July 16, 2017 guardian.co.tt
RHONDA KRYSTAL RAMBALLY
The love for robotics will take
three students of Presentation
College in Chaguanas to an in-
augural competition in Wash-
ington, DC, hosted by a not-
for-profit organisation called
The T&T team is among 160 coun-
tries participating in the event which
seeks to ignite a passion for science,
technology, engineering and math-
Form Five students Josef Gon-
zalez, Avidesh Marajh and Fahad
Hosein left the country early Friday
morning with their physics teacher,
Daniel Ramsook and mentor, Vikash
They also took their robot called
Max, an acronym for maximum ac-
quisition executor, which they’re
hoping will make them champi-
ons this week. The prize is not yet
Beaming with pride they all said,
“We are not there for the prize. We
just want to be there.”
The opening ceremony takes place
later today at the Dar Constitution
Hall. There will be six rounds in the
competition starting tomorrow and
ending on Tuesday, with the closing
and awards ceremony on Wednes-
Max was named after school
teacher Raphael ‘Max’ Ramlal,
founder of the Robotics Club.
The team will meet up with anoth-
er mentor Shastri Ram, who copped
the President’s Medal in 2011. Ram is
also a past student of Presentation
He holds a bachelor’s degree in
electrical and computer engineer-
ing and robotics major, with honours
from Carnegie Mellon University
and is currently pursuing a master’s
degree in robotics.
Ramsook said the team consults
with Ram frequently about the de-
sign and robotics.
“We are always seeking his advice.
We Skype with him regularly to give
him updates and feedback.”
When the Sunday Guardian visit-
ed the students last Thursday at the
school, they were putting the final
touches on Max.
The trio said robotics was their
passion and they are hoping to fly
the T&T flag high.
Competing on a national level
is nothing new for Gonzalez and
Marajh (A). They both represent
the country on the national bad-
They spoke about their love for
robotics and their eagerness to
make more students aware of this
technology that deals with the de-
sign, construction, operation and
application of robots.
A lot of trial and error
Marajh (A), 16, who is president
of the Robotics Club said, “My real
love is programming. Robotics is
the most interactive way to express
code. I hope to represent Trinidad
well and come home with a medal.”
He hopes to pursue a career in
computer science and software
This competition means a lot to
him since “we will always be the
first. It will be part of our legacy”.
He said next year there will be an
official league with competitions to
determine who will be part of the
“We approached other schools but
they denied so it just ended up with
the three of us from Presentation
College, but we are a national team.”
His older brother, Vikash, a past
student, said he hopes robotics will
be introduced on a broader scale to
other students. He is currently pur-
suing a degree in bio-medical engi-
neering at King’s College, London.
He is a co-mentor.
The students are awaiting results
in the Caribbean Secondary Educa-
tion Certificate where they all wrote
Gonzalez, 16, said he was intro-
duced to robotics by Marajh (A). “I
hope we win the competition. It re-
ally is about who could control the
robot. It’s more about tactic.”
He wants to pursue a career in
aviation and make his parents proud.
Hosein, 17, idolises Ram and is
hoping to follow in his footsteps in
the field of robotics.
He said, “I have always liked ro-
botics. Since I was a child I have been
building stuff out of legos. Robotics
is the end point of everything...in
The team starting working on the
robot around Easter. Ramsook said
after exams, the boys spent close to
eight hours a day for three weeks on
the design. It took them about three
months in between studying.
He said, “We got the kit during
the Easter vacation. We had to get
a design and then make it work. We
switched many times so there was a
lot of trial and error.”
He said the boys were well-dis-
ciplined and worked well together
as a team.
“They are dedicated and com-
mitted and I see excellence in them.
“Their competencies and capa-
bilities bounce off each other. Josef
is a team player, Avidesh is great in
programming and Fahad has excep-
tional leadership skills.”
Pres boys representing T&T
...at robotics competition in Washington
What Max does:
It moves. Meets the obstacle
(a ball). Picks it up. It then trans-
ports it up an elevator and sorts
it into like colours.
It’s then stored and deposited
in certain spaces.
Depending on the number of
objects that are deposited, the
team receives points.
The concept is movement, col-
lection, separation, storage and
Mentor Vikash Marajh, left, students
Avidesh Marajh, Fahad Hosein, Josef
Gonzalez and physics teacher, Daniel
Ramsook, right, put the final touches
on Max, the robot, last Thursday.
PHOTO: RHONDA RAMBALLY
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