Major international robotics event in the shape of the FIRST Global Challenge took place Washington DC, in July 2017 aimedtoincrease knowledge of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) of students from 15 to 18 years.

FIRST Global is to motivate the youth to be scientific leaders of tomorrow by solving some of the biggest challenges of worldfor instance access to clean water, food security, cyber safety etc.

Team Alphabots Pakistan consisting of6 bright students traveled to the Washington DC, USto participate in the FIRST Global Challenge 2017 among 160 teams in the world.

Hamza Arshad Bhatti, Muhammad bin Mohsin, Ahmed Waheed were 15-year-old and Dawood Ahmad Kiyani (16), Syed Suleman Ali (14) and their spokesperson, Maryam Kiyani (17)in team Alpha from EMS High School, Islamabad, to represent Pakistan.

“Access to Clean Water”themed FGC2017. More than 1 billion people do not have clean water worldwide and over half are children.

Team captain Hamza said, “In FGC2017 alliances of three countries were made for each game promoting global unity.The task was removing the orange balls and placing them in a repository on the bridge over the riverto clean the river.

“Our robot can sort and release the balls into two different storages. The base for blue ball storage was made to prevent the balls from moving out of position inspired from traditional ‘Charpai’. Robotwas designed in less than 2 months. The Global Challenge award was presented to three teams thatduring the contestaccomplished the most combined match points.”

Muhammad Bin Mohsin, technician, and recipient of “Youngest Mentor Award” in HSRC, “The FGC competition taught us from coping with pressure, managing time, multitasking, cooperating, working under alliances to accepting defeat. Our alliances were with Oman, Laos, Mozambique, Namibia, Ukraine, Iceland, Peru, Brunei, etc. We interacted with students from around the world and presented a positive image of Pakistan to a global audience.”

Ahmed Waheed loves making things that move on their own was a budding mathematician and robot programmer and hopes to achieve excellence in the field of robotics.

“We stayed in George Washington University dorms during the competition. We learned to be responsible and independent but our interaction with students of other countries was very unforgettable. It was truly amazing from sharing our culture and people to hearing about Pakistan cricket team,” he added.

Maryam Kiyani the team’s spokesperson shared, “Cultural exhibition was done on our pit area table that having bangles, a truck, a rickshaw, Balochi topi, khussa, etc, and everyone loved it.”

Dawood Ahmed, a footballer, gamer, and app designersaid, “It was a global stage with over 160 teams united under the banner of FIRST. We visited the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum, Capitol Hill and Columbia University and it was remarkable experience.”

Syed Suleman youngest team memberalso talked about his trip, “Success comes when we are global citizens to exchange ideas, modernize and be responsible for our future not with trophies, medals or certificates.”

Team captain Hamza, “I realized that we are not behind in terms of talent than any other team in the world. We only lack support, facilities, and the resources to showcase our true potential. The feeling of holding flag with Pakistani songs playing in the background in front of global audience will stay with me forever.”

Students in FGC2017 not just competed in a robotics challenge but learned thatagainst common challengeswe have to be on the same team to find solutions to our countless problems affecting our world with the right use of technology, cooperation, and communication. Mexico will be hostingit in 2018.