Abu Dhabi: Robot enthusiasts from public and private schools across the UAE will again have the opportunity to highlight not only their robot building skills but also their fun and practical designs.

The World Robot Olympiad UAE 2011, launched yesterday at the Abu Dhabi Women’s College in Khalifa A, will see over 600 teams, both male and female, compete in venues across Abu Dhabi, Dubai and Ras Al Khaimah.

It is organised by the Abu Dhabi Education Council (ADEC).

“The number of participants has exploded from 50 teams when we took over the organisation of this competition in 2008. This shows just how enthusiastic pupils are about this field, which provides them with both opportunities to feature their designs as well as share ideas with fellow participants,”” Dr. Najla Al Naqbi, programme manager at ADEC, said.

The participants, whose ages range from seven to 19, will be competing in four categories. They are: Regular (design, build and programme robots to successfully complete one of three specific missions), Open (design, build and present robots according to a theme), GEN II Football (design and build two robots that play a football match against an opposing team) and Green City (participants are presented with a number of environmentally focused missions simulating real-life engineering problems).

“Over the past four years, we continuously sent experts from the Lego Education Academy and First Scandinavia to train pupils and their teachers both on using the kits provided and robot building techniques. This ensures that they not only brush up on their skills but also are aware of the latest methods used,”” Dr Al Naqbi said.

Winning teams will then be chosen to represent the UAE at the World Robot Olympiad’s international competition, which take place in Abu Dhabi from November 18 to 20 2011 at the National Exhibition Centre (ADNEC).

Dr Al Naqbi added: “This will be the first time the international portion of the competition is held outside East Asia.

“We are very proud that our bid was chosen as this shows our commitment towards improving education and education transformation, as well as proving that we have the available facilities to host this event, which will see the participation of over 1,500 pupils along with their teachers and other representatives.”