Four Mercersburg students are in Istanbul, Turkey, to compete in RoboCup 2011 July 5–11. Academic Dean Julia Stojak Maurer ’90, who teaches robotics at Mercersburg, is with the students on the trip. Competitors include Nick Casparian ’11, Jason Cui ’13, Anson Guo ’11, and Emily Guo ’11. The students will look to match or exceed the efforts of Brandon Adams ’11 and Darius Glover ’10, who placed third in the world in the Superteam Soccer division at RoboCup 2010 in Singapore.
Associate Academic Dean Matthew Kearney is also part of the Mercersburg contingent in Istanbul.
It's the third trip for Academy students to the international RoboCup Junior competition, and the first year in which two Mercersburg teams have qualified for the international event in the same year. Jeff Chung ’08 competed at RoboCup 2007 in Atlanta, which was the first appearance by a Mercersburg student at the international competition. Students have been competing in regional/national RoboCup events inside the U.S. since 2004, when Maurer created the school's robotics curriculum.
"We had gone to regionals before , but the international competition was such a good experience and so exciting that we decided to see if we could get a student there every year," Maurer says. "It's a huge honor for us to have two teams qualify internationally in the same year."
Cui, Anson Guo, and Emily Guo have teamed up to compete in the thermal search & rescue event, while Casparian will take part in the physical search & rescue competition. (Casparian and Steven Zhang ’11 qualified for the event as a two-person team, but Zhang was unable to travel to Turkey due to passport/visa issues.)
The goal of the thermal search & rescue competition is for the robots to locate the heat signatures of "live" bodies that are trapped in a maze-like location and then signal that the signatures have been found. In the physical search & rescue competition, the object is for the robots to find a "victim" in a maze-like location, pick the victim up, and transport it to a rescue platform.
Competitions are also held in robotic soccer (the division Adams and Glover competed in last year) and dance.
Read more about RoboCup 2011 at the English-language version of the official competition site
. For more on robotics at Mercersburg, click here
to read a story from the spring 2010 edition of Mercersburg magazine