COSTA RICA EXTRA, By Marvin Castillo, Voz de Guanacaste – Twin brothers Ramon Jose and Gerardo Monge Gutierrez, both students of mechatronics the National Learning Institute (INA – Instituto Nacional de Aprendizaje), have earned their way to the fifth World Robotics Olympiad, having won the National Olympiad on August 16 and 17. The worldwide event will be held in Russia in November.
The Monge brothers graduated from Serapio Lopez School and then Bocas Nosara High School. In January of 2013 they enrolled in INA’s mechatronics program. They presented their project in the Olympiad along with 84 other teams of students from throughout the country, representing renowned institutions such as the University of Costa Rica, the Cartago Technological Institute, the National University and several technical and scientific high schools.
All of the teams received a “challenge” for the event from the worldwide Olympic committee. Participants had to build a robot that was completely autonomous, able to scan, detect problems and repair and activate solar cells, just like those used on the space station currently in orbit.
The teams had to simulate the space station on the competition table and have their robots do work. Competitors in the World Olympiad will have 150 minutes to put together the robot by memory and will only be able to use three motors, four censors, one console and 750 plastic parts from the LEGO robotic systems.
The 19 year-old twins Ramon Jose and Gerardo are eight months away from graduating as robotic technicians. As students of mechatronics, they understand mechanics, electronics and computing.
For the past seven months, they have been dedicating some five to seven hours daily to perfecting their robot at INA’s robotics lab, located in Heredia. They both receive a 100% scholarship to cover their expenses, housing, food and transportation.
Forty teams will have the chance to go to the Olympiad in Russia, all with the same goal. This will be the fifth year for the Olympiad, which will be held in the same stadium that was used for the winter Olympic games in the city of Sochi.
From now on the Monge brothers will be preparing for the event. Ramon Jose said that he feels “very proud to represent the country at the world level; also it’s not every day you can go to Russia and moreover represent a country. It’s worth the effort [because] the challenge is very complicated.”
The twins are now submitting all of the paperwork necessary to obtain their passports and visas, as it will be the first time they have left the country.