Felda pupils win gold in robotics

Gold standard: SK Felda Lok Heng Selatan pupils Athirah (right) and Muhammad Irfan (second left) with their coach Huszarudin (left) and mentor Zahidah Ab Aziz (second right) having a go at their winning design.

KOTA TINGGI: A group of primary school pupils from a Felda settlement here has made the country proud by bagging the gold prize at an international robotics competition held in South Korea.

SK Felda Lok Heng Selatan pupils Athirah Nur Amani Fatihah, Muhammad Irfan Saifuddin Mohd Yus and Muhammad Al-Fatih Huszarudin wowed the judges at the International Youth Robot Competition on Aug 4 and 5 with their designs in the junior categories for soccer, sumo and innovation.

Their winning model – a 21st-century modern house – uses sensors and voice activation functions to perform tasks such as extending the roof of the house when it rains, sounding the alarm when it floods and switching on the indicator when the toilet is occupied.

Year Five pupil Athirah Nur Amani said it was not her interest in Science that got her into her school’s robotics club but rather, her interest in putting parts together to make things work.

“I enjoy looking at how things are made. I have always been curious about robots and their functions.

“Last year, my parents encouraged me to join the club. It has been interesting so far as I got to learn how to assemble parts, code and operate robots,” she said in an interview.

Being a girl does not stop her from participating in robotics activities, which is typically seen as being male-dominated.

“Being on the team has taught me to always strive for the best and be open to learning new things.

“At first, I found it difficult to get some of the assembling right. It took me about one to two months under my teacher’s guidance to become familiar with it.

“I feel a strong sense of satisfaction when I manage to get a task right,” she said, adding that it was her first time visiting a foreign country to take part in a competition and bagging a gold medal made the trip even sweeter.

Her teammate Muhammad Irfan, who is in Year Six, said his love for robots stemmed from his interest in science fiction action film,

Transformers.“My siblings and I are huge fans of the robots that usually disguise themselves as vehicles, which gave me ideas about making robots that have similar features.

“Through my experience in robotics, I have learned that there are many things we can design to make life easier for human beings.

“It was an eye-opening experience at the competition as we also got to see the inventions of competitors from other countries such as Columbia, Brazil, Israel, Taiwan,

Thailand and Indonesia, which can help us to improve our future designs,” he said.

Their coach Huszarudin Hussin said that winning the gold prize was the best performance by the school so far, after finishing second in the 2020 leg of the challenge, held online due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

“It took us about a month to prepare for the competition and it was a result of ideas chipped in by the students and teachers.

“Robotics is an excellent area of learning for the students as it encompasses Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics every step of the way.

“They get to learn how to apply everyday things into their designs as well as stimulate their thinking when they look at mundane things such as parking facilities at shopping malls.

“They will then try to find out how things work and try to adopt it in their designs.

“After this, we are aiming to take part in a competition in Indonesia in October with a different group of pupils as we want to give others exposure as well,” said Huszarudin, who also heads the school’s robotics club.

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