Calling for robotics enthusiasts to participate in Octa Tournament at Plaza Merdeka

Kenneth (second left) showing Datin Anriza (third left) how to control Robomaster on the track while others look on.

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By Nur Ashikin Louis

KUCHING, Sept 3: Robotics enthusiasts from primary and secondary schools are welcomed to participate in the Octa Tournament held at Plaza Merdeka here.

Centered around an Octagonal Arena, the tournament welcomes the students to attend a three-hour workshop which will take place in three consecutive weekends on Sept 10 and 11, Sept 16 and 17, as well as Sept 24 and 25.

Each student only has to participate in one workshop to qualify for the tournament.

Additionally, the participants can come to the Arena on weekdays to use the facility for training.

Octa is a platform for robotic competitions initiated by The Learning Curve and previously co-organised with Sarawak Multimedia Authority (SMA) in 2019.

The programme aims to attract young robotics and engineering talents with interdisciplinary abilities and showcase the possibilities of technological innovation to audiences through the e-sports theme.

According to The Learning Curve co-founder Kenneth Chai, the tournament was initially planned to take place on March 14, 2020 but it was later postponed due to Covid-19 pandemic.

The tournament is finally happening this year, powered by Sarawak Digital Economy Corporation (SDEC) and Sarawak Multimedia Authority (SMA) in collaboration with The Learning Curve, Vincenzo Labs and Plaza Merdeka.

“A lot of our children spend so much time playing battle royale (online) games like PUBG, Fortnite so what I want to do is to capture all the fun they have and bring it right here (in the Tournament).

“So instead of controlling all the virtual characters on screen, they will still sit in front of the computers but they are controlling all the physical robots here.

“Through all the workshops, we can teach the participants to learn programming, physics, mathematics and everything because we are taking all the boring parts away from all the coding and putting it into something that they love, which is playing games,” he told reporters at the opening ceremony of Octa Tournament at Plaza Merdeka here today.

He further explained that the secondary school students will learn to assemble, code and operate a DJI Robomaster S1 and DJI Tello in a two-man team while primary school students will assemble, code and operate a Zoom:bit and Micro:bit in a two-man team over a period of three hours. All devices will be loaned to the participants, and included in the workshop fee.

One or two groups will qualify from each workshop to participate in the Finals, of which the date will be determined later and expected to happen some time in October.

During the Finals, two strongest teams of secondary school students will compete in a battle royale to capture the hidden flag in the Arena while 10 teams of primary school students will compete in a Mario Kart-style race.

For those interested to participate, they can register at bit.ly/octa2022.

Workshops for Octa Tournament is taking place at Plaza Merdeka on weekends this month.

In line with the State’s Digitalisation programme and support of the STEM Community, Plaza Merdeka will also be having pocket events that will feature the discipline of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM).

Plaza Merdeka Holding Sdn Bhd executive director Datin Anriza Wong Cordero expressed her gratitude to the Learning Curve for the collaboration and hopes that more parties would support the State in nurturing STEM talents.

“I think this is a very good initiative in line with the State government’s focus on STEM. It (Octa Tournament) creates awareness for our younger kids to have that introduction to see whether STEM is the field that they want to enter in the future.

“I hope there’s more parties like Kenneth and his team that will do this sort of event for the younger kids,” she said. — DayakDaily