Muscat: In the heart of Mexico City, student teams from more than 175 countries – including Oman – spent three days competing and collaborating at the international robotics competition, “FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) Global Challenge”.
This year’s theme was “Energy Impact,” with national teams competing in a robotics game that involved delivering various types of fuel to power plants and building transmission networks.
Shell Development Oman is a silver sponsor of the FIRST Global Challenge this year. Muna Al Shukaili, General Manager of External Relations at Shell Development Oman, said, “We are committed to inspiring and supporting the next generation of Omani scientists, mathematicians, and engineers, who I am confident will go and make a change in the world. Through supporting science, technology, engineering and mathematics programmes, we are creating opportunities for Oman’s ambitious youth to be part of a generation that will work to solve today’s energy-related problems.
“Programmes such as the ‘FIRST Global Challenge’ enable youth to satisfy their curiosity whilst channelling their talent into a career to drive innovation and economic growth for the country.”
She added, “The answers to the Sultanate’s energy challenges lie among our youth and together we can #makethefuture.”
The robotics game, “village alliances”, comprised three country teams working together to generate more energy. These village teams won points when their three robots delivered different types of energy to power generators. This included robots transporting small objects that represented solar panels, turning miniature wind turbine cranks, and delivering blocks that represented power lines across a “field” to generators. When competing villages’ robots collaborated with each other, both teams won “cooperation” points.
Abdelrahman Ali, a student from the Oman team, said, “The FIRST Global Challenge was an incredibly rewarding experience for both me and my peers. The competition provided us an opportunity to implement our ideas, learn new skills, and further develop our analytical thinking and problem-solving abilities. We were able to work together to create solutions for the challenging problems at hand.”
Shell has long supported programmes that inspire young people to pursue careers in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM). Through these programmes, Shell aims to equip future generations with the skills they will need to lead their countries through energy transition.
Shell Development Oman has placed great emphasis on supporting educational programmes within the country by encouraging students to explore science, mathematics and engineering. From the Shell Eco-Marathon to its Solar in Schools, the company is equipping the future generation with the skills to lead Oman’s energy transition. More recently, the company has proposed to collaborate with the Ministry of Education to implement “NXplorers”, an innovative educational programme, into the local school curriculum. Focused on the Food - Water - Energy nexus, the programme aims to build awareness, develop knowledge and provide thinking tools and complex problem-solving skills to young people in the Sultanate.
The FIRST Global Challenge was launched in Washington, D.C. in 2017. Organisers plan on holding the robotics event in a different country each year, addressing global issues including water, energy, security, medicine, food and education.