Winnipeg

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Robotics in Winnipeg

Over 200 students grade one through 12 battled it out at the 24th Manitoba Robot Games at Tec Voc on March 16. Students competed for the top prize in 16 different competitions, from robot sumo wrestling to tractor pulling.

The All Girls Robot Fight Club met every Saturday since January 19 at the University of Manitoba’s engineering building to prepare for the games.

Seven high school girls were enrolled in the club and were tasked with building and programming a robot that could simulate a medical supply delivery in a model hospital. The girls used Lego NXT Mindstorms kits to construct their robots.

Coach Jenica Woitowicz, a Digital Media Design student at Red River College, says that the “All Girls” designation in the title was important for encouraging girls specifically to enroll and get involved in robotics.

“When I was in computer science, I had one class where out of 100 people there were three women including myself,” said Woitowicz. “So, I’m pretty passionate about trying to get those numbers up.”
Talia Dexter-Nickel, 15, programs her robot in preparation for the Manitoba Robot Games.
Women are still underrepresented in STEM fields across the world. According to a 2016 Statistics Canada report, young women are still less likely than men to choose to study STEM fields. Almost one third of women in STEM in 2018 also reported lower pay than a man doing the same job (Pew Research Centre).

Fourteen-year-old Ella Porth says participating in the All Girls Robot Fight Club has made her think seriously about her future career.

"Engineering is a big [career option] for me and this just feels like a big step into that."
Ella and her partner Jenna with their robot “Chem Engineered Goats” placed third in the NXT Lego challenge at the Robot Games. Talia Dexter-Nickel, also a member of the All Girls Robot Fight Club, placed first with “The Dexterminator”.

Videos

Red River College Leading Women into Robotics
Red River College's Notre Dame campus' new building has new opportunities for careers in robotics.
All Girls Robot Fight Club
The All Girls Robot Fight Club met every Saturday since January 19 at the University of Manitoba’s engineering building to prepare for the Manitoba Robot Games.
Ukko Robotics One-off Interview
RRCTV talked with Ukkö Robotics in Winnipeg about their fully autonomous barn called the ROVA.
Robotics at the Skilled Trades and Technology Centre
A look into one of the robotics labs at Red River College's new Skilled Trades and Technology Centre.
Otto the Autonomous Snowplow
"Otto" was created by NorthStar Robotics and is used by the Winnipeg Airport to clear the runways.
Robots Will Take 1.8 Million Jobs by 2020
Katherine Ivey discusses the history of robots and what will happen to people's jobs in the future.