This year, due to the quarantine situation in Ukraine and Dnipro city, we had to postpone many of our events. The BestRoboFest robotics festival for young techies was one of them. However, Noosphere decided to provide new opportunities for young technology enthusiasts in Dnipro by introducing another first to robotics competitions in Ukraine. At the beginning of autumn, we launched Noosphere Engineering Race, a new type of robotics competition in Ukraine based on the American VEX construction.
Noosphere Engineering Race (NER) is open to all students of junior, middle or high school in Dnipro, aged 7 to 16. NER is a fundamentally new format of competition in the way it combines educational and competitive elements. Throughout the competitions, mentors from the Noosphere Engineering School will help participants through master-classes, webinars and other formats. Because of this format, even students with no knowledge or skills in robotics can join.
The competition will be held in three rounds: a puzzle task; programming in a virtual simulator; and then a competition of real robots using the VEX IQ construction. The first two stages can occur online. The competition between real robots will be held at Noosphere Engineering School. Of course, the epidemiological situation in the city at that time may alter these plans.
The first round – puzzle task – has already ended. From September 15 to November 2, kids and teenagers in Dnipro solved the puzzle to become NER participants. In total, we received over 300 registrations, but only 100 boys and girls proceeded to the second round. You can find the names of the lucky competitors on the NER official website. During the first stage, the main judge of the competition, Maxim Slodzik, held an educational webinar “NER: Robotics Basics or How to Tame a Robot”. He talked about the details of the Noosphere Engineering Race, explained how to use the VEX Assembler and also spoke on why we need robotics, what is a robot and robotics, the stages of creating a robot, and programming a robot, etc.
The second round is held from November 5 to 25. Participants will compete in programming a robot using VEX constructors to solve a problem in a virtual simulator. As part of the second phase, more webinars will be made available. The first will introduce VEX VR and the basics of programming and the next will cover the tasks of the second round. 10 finalists will be awarded with their own VEX IQ sets – a robotic constructor for children and adults, from which you can assemble a cool mechanism and program it for various tasks. These contestants will then use these new VEX IQ sets to compete for the main prize. Three winners will share the prize fund of $6,000.
NER continues a series of Noosphere initiatives aimed at creating a favorable engineering ecosystem in Ukraine. It allows young enthusiasts gain new knowledge, improve their skills and receive real rewards for their efforts.