The man who invented the robot that took Yorkton Regional High School students Bo Chaisson and Jayden Leister to a gold medal at the WorldSkills Americas competition in Brazil last November thinks the boys could also do well in the world championships this summer.
Ulrich Karras, an engineer with Festo Didactic, the German company that built the YRHS robot, was in Yorkton last week to coach the boys on the new tasks they will need to perfect for the competition in Leipzig, Germany in July.
"My feeling is this team has really a chance to get in the top five," he said.
Twenty countries will compete at robotics in Leipzig and the competition will likely be tougher than what they have faced on the national and hemispheric levels.
"All the teams are on a very high level," Karras said. "But we have a very high diversity and that is difficult also to bring them together to compare them."
Still, Karras pointed out the strength of Chaisson and Leister lies in teamwork.
"The main point, what I have observed is, they are a real team," he said. "They are not two person, which are working together, no, they understand just like blind people. That is a very important thing."
The skills Karras was helping the boys with involves moving palettes of dowels (children) from platforms (trees) to a designated area (schoolyard). The robot needs to be able to figure out which of the trees the children are on, the height of the tree and where the schoolyard is in relation in order to complete its task.
The programming is challenging compared to what they had to do in winning the Canadian and Americas competitions.
"It's way more complex," Leister said.
The other skill they will have to master is building a model of a man for which they are currently constructing an arm for the robot.