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Of Interest

See archived articles

More than just robotics

Laurence Hoeltschi

Once again Agence Iter France, the ITER Organization and educational representatives from the Aix-Marseille and Nice regions successfully organized the ITER Robot competition. Much more than just a robotic contest, this fun event not only stimulates young people's interest in engineering and the ITER Project, but also allows ITER—a major economic actor locally—to play a part in the French national education curriculum.

ITER Director-General Bernard Bigot (far left) looks on at one of the day's many white-knuckle moments. Months of planning, teamwork, and ingenuity came together on 23 May, at the sixth edition of ITER Robots. (Click to view larger version...)
ITER Director-General Bernard Bigot (far left) looks on at one of the day's many white-knuckle moments. Months of planning, teamwork, and ingenuity came together on 23 May, at the sixth edition of ITER Robots.
Six hundred students from 27 schools participated in the sixth edition, which was held on 23 May at the Lycée des Iscles in Manosque. Organized into 46 teams, students could be identified by their colourful T-shirts as they moved from one test to another during the seven-hour competition, all before the eyes of a particularly attentive jury.

Drawing inspiration from the robotic challenges that will be faced at ITER during installation and maintenance activities, the test categories—Ways, Transport, Pick'n Place and Cooperate—demanded a lot of ingenuity from the young competitors. In one of the hardest test activities, miniature robots equipped with sensors had to be able to detect the colour of the wooden blocks they were holding and communicate the information to a second robot, in order for the latter to deposit the piece in the correct area. The students' general knowledge of ITER and fusion were also tested as well as their ability to communicate about their project at their team's stand.

Six hundred students, 27 schools—the sixth edition of ITER Robots demonstrated once again the young generation's interest in engineering and the ITER Project. In red, at the front of the image, Agence Iter France's Sylvie André, organizer of the event, congratulates all teams on their participation. (Click to view larger version...)
Six hundred students, 27 schools—the sixth edition of ITER Robots demonstrated once again the young generation's interest in engineering and the ITER Project. In red, at the front of the image, Agence Iter France's Sylvie André, organizer of the event, congratulates all teams on their participation.
ITER Director-General Bernard Bigot was on hand to award the "Cooperate Prize," reminding the students that without scientific, technological and human cooperation the ITER Project would not exist. He also underlined "enthusiasm, imagination, ingenuity, rigor and determination"—all on display at ITER Robots 2017—as essential qualities for the "dynamism and renewal of our society."

Inspired by the growing success of ITER Robots, and in cooperation with Agence Iter France, the national education services in France now provide teachers from all over France with fifty educational modules dedicated to ITER Robots through a digital platform.


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