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Puerto Rico shines in robotics competition

Members of the Puerto Rican delegation that competed in California operate their robots. (Credit: PRIOR)

Members of the Puerto Rican delegation that competed in California operate their robots. (Credit: PRIOR)

A local delegation of 27 teams under the leadership of the Puerto Rico Institute of Robotics excelled in world championship competition held this past weekend at the Anaheim Convention Center, picking up 12 international awards.

A total of 10 teams from Puerto Rico middle schools, 16 from high school and one university squad went head to head with their custom-built and programmed robots at the VEX Robotics Competition World Championship in California. In all, the event drew more than 15,000 student participants, educators, mentors, industry leaders and community members.

The aim of the competition is for the robots to rack up points in a series of missions, both in standalone mode (by themselves, with artificial intelligence) and in manual mode. At no point do the robots fight or are allowed to display aggressive behavior.

During the first days of competition, the Puerto Rico delegation demonstrated superiority and got placed in high positions, with 15 teams making it through to the quarterfinals of their respective divisions. The island’s college team nabbed third place in its division, while Hogar Colegio La Milagrosa made it to the semi-final and placed in seventh position in its division. Robinson School took 10th place in its division, while the U.H.S./Miguel Such Vocational team managed to reach the semi-finals and placed seventh and eighth in its division. Two teams from the Antonio Lucchetti Vocational school placed ninth and 13th in their divisions, organizers said.

“We’re extremely proud of the Puerto Rico delegation for having achieved many awards in this competition that brings together the best talent in robotics and engineering worldwide,” said PRIOR Director Wence López.

“The fact that Puerto Rico has reached this milestone against major technological powers like China and New Zealand is evidence of the great talent and potential to continue developing Puerto Rican professionals in engineering, aerospace and robotics,” he said. “One hundred percent of PRIOR students go on to college, demonstrating that this program is a great tool to reduce dropout rates and inspire students continue to university.”

Author Details
Author Details
Business reporter with 30 years of experience writing for weekly and daily newspapers, as well as trade publications in Puerto Rico. My list of former employers includes Caribbean Business, The San Juan Star, and the Puerto Rico Daily Sun, among others. My areas of expertise include telecommunications, technology, retail, agriculture, tourism, banking and most other segments of Puerto Rico’s economy.

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