More than 800 students and 170 teams from around the world are participating in the 2007 World Robot Olympiad in Taipei, an annual competition for young people in which competing teams assemble robots to perform tasks.
The competition, which is being held this weekend, is divided into two categories.
In the regular category, teams are required to assemble robots to solve a specific problem within an hour. The open category is a project-based, exhibition style competition in which the teams present robot designs.
Teams in both categories are divided into three age groups: elementary school students, junior high school students and senior high school students.
The teams went into action yesterday on the floor of the National Taiwan University gymnasium with teachers, family members and friends watching in the stands.
The participants had to assemble robots with Lego bricks and controllers such as light, sound and temperature sensors.
The rules state the robots must accomplish assigned missions.
Topics for the competition were assigned by the Taiwanese organizers, who wanted to add local flavor to the event. For example, teams in the regular competition had to design robots that simulate the Alishan (
"Competitions like this help kids build their thinking skills, which is important for the future development of students who plan on entering engineering or related fields," said Kerry Bailey, an information technology consultant who works for the Abu Dhabi Education Council in the United Arab Emirates.
The competition helps the participants develop various skills, such as problem-solving and teamwork, Bailey said, adding that the event exposes kids to an innovative environment.
The World Robot Olympiad was established in 2004 by a committee made up of experts from universities around the world with the aim of promoting innovation and education.