ROBOTICS. Students from Rizal National Science High School measure the resistance and voltage of circuits using multimeters included in their kit as part of their training for the Tagisang Robotics Competition. The Department of Science and Technology - Science Education Institute (DOST-SEI) is urging students to take up STEM (science, technology, engineering, mathematics) courses in college, via the robotics competition. (Photo courtesy of DOST-SEI)

The Department of Science and Technology – Science Education Institute (DOST-SEI) on Wednesday urged students to take up STEM (science, technology, engineering, mathematics) courses in college, via a robotics competition.

First launched in 2011, the “Tagisang Robotics” tilt is back after a five-year hiatus, and participants are set to showcase their entries at the Forum 2 Philippine International Convention Center (PICC) in Pasay City from November 19 to 20.

“Robotics is a field of science that has many benefits. (For) example, it could automate a task, thus creating an output more efficiently,” said Juan Antonio Tuazon, SEI senior science research specialist, in an interview.

For this year, SEI has allotted PHP6 million for the Tagisang Robotics. The SEI provides each school or team participants with a kit worth PHP80,000.

For the training on mechatronics and basic programming which was held last September, the cost was PHP7,500 per head/participant, according to Tuazon.

There are 16 schools competing this year, and the SEI required each team to be composed of four (two females and two males).

Overall, there are 64 students and 16 coaches who would showcase their works this month.

“From 2011 to 2013, there are about 1,000 students who participated in the Tagisang Robotics. We used to have 24 to 40 schools participating in this competition,” said Tuazon, adding that the competition was stopped due to some funding issues.

The SEI targets Grades 7-10 public high school students to participate in the Tagisang Robotics. Interested participants may send a message via the SEI’s website, or the Tagisang Robotics Facebook page, Tuazon said.

This year’s participants are now testing their prototype.

Previous competitions focused on baseball, wherein robots should hit the goal. For 2019, the competition was based on basketball, so robots must be able to shoot as many balls it can.

“The entries will be judged based on their functionality. Also, what’s new for this year is that we would have an ‘autonomous period’. Here, students should be able to pre-program the robot to function without being controlled, for 30 seconds,” he said.

The robot’s performance should last 2 minutes, and the “autonomous period” requires that the robot should at least go outside of its original position for the first 30 seconds, without being controlled by the player.

The Best Team Award will receive a PHP100,000 cash prize, while winners of the Best Alliance Award will get PHP150,000. The winning team’s coach will receive PHP30,000, and winning alliance coaches will get PHP15,000 each, according to SEI.

“SEI targets to increase the number of school participants next year. Although, this has to be limited also, because the SEI shoulders all the expenses, including the materials that participants would use,” Tuazon said.

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