IIS Castelli’s “Divine Robot” Flies to the Netherlands

Giampietro Busi, Andrea Cassamali, Ettore Gorni, Laura Brognoli, Lorenzo Borboni, Luca Franceschini, Stefano Gentilini, Alekos Filini, Michele Treccani.  These nine students, all in the fourth and fifth year of study at IIS Castelli in Brescia, along with computer science teachers Alessandro Bugatti and Gaetano Scandale, left this morning for Eindhoven, the Netherlands. There, they will participate as the only Italian team in the European finals of the international robotics competition, with the dream of qualifying for the finals in the United States. It isn’t a farfetched dream; last year their classmates were unable to cross the ocean despite their inclusion in the top ten, but they did receive the Innovation Award, which was given to the team that resolved the challenge’s problems in the most innovative way.

These eight boys and one girl, however, are battle-ready, even if they will need to confront approximately 50 other teams, most of which are from Northern Europe. The students worked for a long time, meeting outside of school hours at least once a week, even during Christmas and Easter breaks, all the way up until Tuesday night. They met and constructed their robot in a room that was devoted to them.

They began to study the specifications, which are very precise and complex, at the beginning of the school year and immediately started to prepare their robot, which must be guided by a smartphone and be able to move through a field. Knowledge of many disciplines, from mechanical engineering to physics, automation, and telecommunications, was necessary. In the end, Dante, as they’ve decided to call their robot, is ready. The only problem is the trip. Will it be possible, in these difficult times, to bring this unusual passenger aboard? Or will it need to be taken apart and checked, complete with the difficulty of putting it back together? As seen in the photo, the machine is not simple and, with its moving track and its extendable limbs, is able to pick up pieces of earth, which could be pieces of junk or balls.

The technical institute on Via Cantore, directed by Simona Tebaldini, often competes and receives excellent results in competitions like this one. To aid with the costs that, given the trip abroad, were not insignificant, the Castelli Foundation lent a hand. Meccanica Pierre, Gefran, Automazioni Industriali, Mollificio Scassa, Fabula Marco, and Design Project also provided materials and assistance. Some of the components have already been given, while the rest are at the discretion of the work group, in which the professor-selected “experts” are found.

To the young competitors who declared themselves “excited, tired, but happy,” we send the best wishes of their classmates and their city, which are cheering for their victory and their qualification for the next round.