by Curlan Campbell
- Team Grenada currently participating in 2021 FIRST Global Challenges
- CubeSat prototype to conduct research on Sargassum distribution on Grenadian shores
- Robotics Club will be collaborating with students from Belize
The research spacecrafts called CubeSats are a class of nanosatellites with a standardised size of 10cm³. Unlike CubeSats which are launched into space using rocket-powered launch vehicles, or deployed from the International Space Station, CubeSat prototypes, mainly used in aerial research, are modelled after space-ready CubeSats. However, instead of operating in space, they are launched into the lower layers of Earth’s atmosphere using methods such as high-altitude balloons. This forms part of the 2021 FIRST Global Challenges in which Team Grenada is currently participating.
Team Grenada is expected to use the CubeSat prototype to conduct research on the distribution of the Sargassum seaweed on Grenadian shores. The CubeSat will be created from an Arduino-based kit and it is expected to provide a tangible solution to some of the challenges faced with gathering data on the Sargassum seaweed.
In keeping with FIRST Global mission to advance new ways of education in Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics, also known as STEAM, the 2021 challenges are broken up into a number of phases. Phase one of the 2021 FIRST Global Challenges saw the students taking on a project to reduce the quantity of Sargassum seaweed plaguing fisherfolk along the eastern coastline, to a fully thought-out and actionable plan that includes utilising the Sargassum in a biodigester to produce biofuel and fertiliser. The Robotics Club will also be collaborating with students from Belize on this project to develop an engineering notebook that will capture vital details of the engineering process including approach, any research conducted, failures, and the story of the alliance as part of Phase 3 of the challenge. In Phase 3 the TAMCC Robotics Club with their alliance have 4 weeks to work together to create one unified solution.
“ICT ties into everything from research, data collection to the implementation of various solutions. Robotics will come into place when we deal with collecting and transforming the Sargassum seaweed,” said Akera Griffith, Team Grenada Project Manager of the TAMCC Robotics Club.
This project proposal was documented and submitted to the Permanent Secretary within the Ministry for ICT Finley Jeffery. The process saw the students over a 3-week period conducting online and field research, interviewing industry professionals and government officials involved in environmental conservation before developing a working document using the fundamentals of STEAM that can be implemented.
“We hope that the government of Grenada take a look at our plan and our solution to the problem, and include us in the implementation process,” Griffith said.
For their next Robotics Challenge, FIRST Global teams will each receive the 2021 FIRST Global REV Robotics Kit of Parts. Teams will use the components provided in these kits to create solutions to four individual build tasks. Instead of assembling a single robot, teams will complete the following 4 tasks, which represent major components often found on FIRST Global robots.
- Drivetrain Delivery: Build a powered chassis to navigate a given path
- Intake Intrigue: Build a reversible intake to obtain control of an item on the ground, lift it, then release it
- Launcher Longshot: Build a launcher to propel an object through the air to a predetermined height and distance
- Climber Chaos: Build a mechanism to lift a simulated robot of a specified weight off the ground
Team Grenada Robotics 2021 incorporates students from both tertiary, and secondary education. These students include, but are not limited to Shemiah James (President); Aprille Thomas (Secretary); Ishhod Isaac (Public Relations Officer); Akera Griffith (Project Manager); Ethan Bailey (Treasurer) and Elisa Pierre (Secondary School member). Clement Commodore, Charmain Charles, and Collins Charles are lecturers at TAMCC, and mentor the team through each phase of the robotics competition.