Micronesian Schools Plan "Yapital Robo Day"

Educators at the two independent High Schools on the Island of Yap have announced plans for a public exhibition and competition, featuring teams from their student robotics clubs.

The 2013 “Yapital Robo Day,” will highlight the work of robotics teams from both Yap Catholic High School and the SDA School. It will serve as a culmination of the participating students’ hard work throughout the school year. The event will be held on Friday, May 17th at the Community Center in Colonia, starting at 3:00pm. Both schools will demonstrate the capabilities of their robots by navigating the machines through a series of obstacles and retrieving doughnut shaped cargos with the robotic claws.

Club members are looking to show community members, public officials, and their peers the capabilities of the VEX robots each team has built. Parts for the machines were initially donated by the US-based charity “Habele.” Over the course of the school year, the student teams have designed, assembled and programed the robots, turning those piles of raw materials into fully functioning robots.

Last year the two schools participated in the first-ever Yap Robo Day. It was coordinated by local community organization “Waa’gey.” That event, which garnered headlines across the Pacific and earned the recognition of robotics aficionados throughout the US, was Oceania’s first ever student robotics exhibition.

“The feedback on last year’s event was amazing,” explained Neil Mellen, President of Habele. “Our worry was that despite the hard work of the students and enthusiasm of their teachers, we wouldn’t be able to raise the money to buy new parts and stage the Robo Day event again.” Thankfully, the European based electronic payments firm “Yapital” offered to help.

Yapital’s financial support enabled Habele to purchase upgrade kits and spare parts for the robots, as well as shirts for all participating students. They also plan to cover the cost of hosting the Robo Day event itself. “When a delegation from Yapital visited Yap last fall we heard a lot about the Robo Day and just how much it meant to the participating students,” said Nils Winkler, Yapital CEO. “This type of practical application of science and technology instruction is inspiring. We at Yapital are proud to be supporting these hard working students and educators in Yap State.”