Honolulu students place 4th & 7th in international robotics competition

Honolulu Community College
Billie K T Lueder, (808) 845-9187
Communications & External Affairs, Honolulu Community College
Posted: Dec 7, 2012

Honolulu's entries into the International Micro Robot Contest.
Honolulu's entries into the International Micro Robot Contest.
Harris Okazaki working on his bittybot.
Harris Okazaki working on his bittybot.
Honolulu Community College students Harris Okazaki and Ryan Yamada, participated in the 21st Annual International Micro Robot Contest in Nagoya, Japan during the first week of November. This year over 130 robots from Japan, Indonesia, South Korea, Thailand, Taiwan and the United States competed in four categories.
Okazaki and Yamada participated in the most difficult and most prestigious category whereby the microbots have to navigate a maze with no assistance from the students. Yamada, a Liberal Arts student, placed fourth and his colleague Okazaki, a Construction Management major, placed seventh in a field of 19 contestants.
“When I was approached with the opportunity of building a robot to compete in a robotics competition, I was stunned. Although I have some experience with engineering through the program at University of Hawai‘i Mānoa, I never felt capable of being an engineer. That is how I found myself at Honolulu Community College in hopes to become a construction manager,” shared Okazaki.
The skills students develop through this process could lead directly to good jobs in the private sector, according to Honolulu CC Assistant Professor and robotics club advisor, Norman Takeya.
“There is a growing demand for workers in the industrial and manufacturing space who have the mechatronic skills needed to maintain, diagnose and repair sophisticated, automated systems that characterize manufacturing in the 21st century,” explains Takeya.
“At the organization level, we surpassed our expectations competing in an international collegiate competition with groups who have been winning for years. Taking the placement positions that we did is a victory for us and Honolulu CC,” reflected Yamada.
Although Honolulu CC does not have a mechatronics program, the potential demand for these skills from the business sector could put the college on course to develop this area further.