Three home teams from junior high and high schools won three medals at the 2013 World Robot Olympiad (WRO) on Sunday.
Indonesia won gold and bronze medals in the junior category that challenged junior high students to remove a stupa and to follow a track.
Japan’s team came in second with a silver medal.
Gold medalist Blood Seeker — a team comprising members Riki and Kelvin — won by a small margin with its robot.
“We got the same score as our opponents but our robot was faster,” said Riki at the closing of the two-day olympiad held at the Ecovention convention center in Ancol, North Jakarta.
For Kelvin, the competition was his second after having lost at last year’s event in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
“Well, my loss last year was a delayed victory,” said the 15-year-old boy.
The other team, Doom Bringer, was proud of its achievements, especially since this was the first international competition for its members — Hubert, Edward and Kevin.
“We’re so happy because this means that our preparation of six months was not in vain,” said Hubert.
In the senior category for high school students, team robots were challenged to select Komodo eggs and move them to different spots. Indonesian team Prime One Oberon earned the silver medal.
Kevin, Louis and Kelvin’s robot managed to select the eggs perfectly but lost to Malaysia’s robot.
“Our robot needed 9.5 seconds to finish the task, while their robot needed 8.4 seconds,” said Louis.
Kevin admitted that beating the Malaysian team was rather difficult “because their robot was too fast”.
It was Indonesia’s first time hosting the event, the 10th since it was first held in Singapore in 2004. The next host will be Moscow, Russia.
The competition, which targets young people, utilizes Lego Mindstorms manufactured by LEGO Education.
Arni, a member of local organizing committee Mikrobot, said that around 1,030 participants, or 392 teams from 37 countries, participated in this year’s competition, which had six categories and three different age groups: elementary, junior and senior.
There was also an open category in which the youngsters were able to exhibit their creative inventions and soccer skills.
As the host country, Indonesia was allowed to have eight teams in the three age groups.
The teams were selected through the 2013 Indonesian Robot Olympiad that was held in September.
Several ministries, including the Tourism and Creative Economy Ministry, the Education and Culture Ministry and the Research and Technology Ministry, supported the event.
“Our theme this year is World Heritage because we also want to use this event to promote our country,” said Arni.
The World Heritage theme was shown in the use of stupa and Komodo dragon replicas in the challenges.
Education expert Arief Rachman, who attended the olympiad, said that such an event should be held regularly to increase children’s creativity.
“I hope that these [the robots] can be used in schools as well to help innovate,” he said.
Dian, 25, a visitor, said he was amazed with the ability of the young children to create such robots.
“I am surprised that they programmed the robots since they are so young,” he said.
Indonesian robot makers have gained recognition through many global competitions in the past several years. Jakarta also hosted the 13th International Robot Olympiad in 2011.