Bulacan students develop robot vs ‘botcha’ meat

By: Tarra Quismundo, April 24th, 2012 01:58 AM

Is the meat you’re buying safe? Count on the “antibotcha” robot to be able to tell if that meat is a dirty cut.

A team of high school students from Bulacan province developed the robot, which they programmed to be able to tell through color sensors if meat is fresh or derived from long-dead animals, known here as “botcha.”

The students from Dr. Yanga’s Colleges Inc. (DYCI) were scheduled to leave Monday to bring their robot, Magis Version 2 (Meat’s Anti-Germs and Infection Solution), to St. Louis, Missouri, as the Philippines’ entry to the 2012 Lego League  robot competition organized by For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology (FIRST).

FIRST is a US-based organization that encourages students to study science, engineering and technology through mentor-based programs and competitions. It was founded in 1989 by American inventor and entrepreneur Dean Kamen, best known for inventing the automated transporter Segway.

The competition’s theme this year is Food Factor, which challenges students to develop technology that could help keep food safe for human consumption.

“We congratulate the DYCI Blue Ocean 10 for making it to the FLL (FIRST Lego League) and we are optimistic that you would bring honor to the Philippines as you join the international competition,” Filma Brawner, director of the Department of Science and Technology’s Science Education Institute, said in an April 12 statement announcing the selection of the DYCI team as the Philippine representative to the competition.

“It is our hope that our students will be able to use this experience to get into careers in science in the future,” Brawner said.

The 10 teenagers on the DYCI Blue Ocean team are Gladys Leigh Malana, 16, the team captain; Tricia Carmela Santos, 14; Ramikert del Prado, 15; Michelle Arcanar, 13; Kate de la Cruz, 13; Lady Alein Goleng, 15; Jules Martin Agsaoay, 15; Jonathan Alejandro, 15; Dave Adrian Bien, 13; and Tim Jhalmar Fabillon, 12.

DYCI teachers Beryl Jhan Cruz and Romyr Gimeno will coach the team during the competition.

“Competitions become a test bed for our students where they try to outwit, outlast and outplay others through their skills and intellect in science and mathematics,” Brawner said.  “We are positive that this experience will bring out the best from our students.”

The Philippines won the FIRST Robotics Competition in Hawaii in 2009 when it fielded Larry Labuyo in the game Lunacy, where competing robots were challenged to put the most number of moon rocks on the trailer of opposing robots.

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