The teenagers who won the gold medal at the International Robotics Olympiad in December, were welcomed by Kyriakos Mitsotakis at the Maximos Palace, congratulating them on their success and stating that “you make us all proud”.
This is the Plaisiobots student team, which consists of 16-year-old Christos Rentzis, 15-year-old Irida Angelopoulou, 14-year-old Vasiliki Iliadis and 13-year-old Alkiviadis Kotsikopoulos, who under the guidance of coach Diana Voutirakou and assistant coach, coach a robotic stick to facilitate the movement of visually impaired people, as the theme of the competition was about the future of movement.
“Congratulations on your success. I have always been very close to all the robotics competitions and I want to tell you that I am excited by the talent, the ingenuity, the interest shown by all the robotics teams. And when of course they can and do excel in international competitions even better. You make us all very proud, “said the prime minister, who personally welcomed the team to his office.
The stick, which is specially designed for outdoor areas, recognizes obstacles and their position, protects the user’s head from obstacles, while also communicating with the traffic lights to inform the user if they are green or red. It also has a bluetooth tracking application. The children demonstrated their patent to the Prime Minister, explaining that the device has sensors at strategic points that detect obstacles and send different, distinct vibrations to the handle to alert the user.
According to government sources, Kyriakos Mitsotakis asked the children how they prepared for the Olympics, the competition process and how they chose the idea for the smart stick. His students explained that they were inspired by the image of a visually impaired woman who had difficulty crossing a pedestrian crossing due to parked cars, and followed a market research to better understand the needs of potential users. “It is interesting that you did market research,” he said.
“The point is, technology has to work for someone. Have users. And what you are saying is that in the end, a person with a visual impairment may have a much greater response to this type of alert – unlike an audible signal – it is very interesting. Impressive. “The next step is now to get a patent, a patent and then produce it,” said the Prime Minister.
Kyriakos Mitsotakis again congratulated the children for their idea and their hard work, while transferring to them an experience he had during his studies. “For there to be business success, technological innovation must be combined with the business dimension. As one of our university professors, who taught us innovation, told us, business success – especially at the level of new businesses – is 10% inspiration, inspiration, and 90% perspiration, that is, sweat.
The International Robotics Olympiad has been held every year since 1999. More than 500 young participants took part in the 2020 competition, despite the difficulties caused by the pandemic. The Plaisiobots team was formed on the initiative of the company Plaisio and is staffed by children and relatives of employees of the company.
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