Corazón de Chileno® (FRC Team 2576) is Chile’s multi award winning national youth robotics team. They are the only Chilean team represented in the FIRST Robotics Competition (FRC), an international tournament where more than 4000 teams participate.
Launched in 1991, FRC launches a different challenge every year, made by engineers from different companies like NASA, General Motors and Lockheed Martin.
This year, youth teams from all around the world will be working on the 2012 FIRST Robotics Competition challenge: Rebound Rumble, where the robots will play a game similar to basketball. A very important thing to consider is that the robots will need to be controlled by Kinect, the Microsoft XBox 360 device (a sensory device that allows you to control the XBox 360 solely using body gestures and spoken commands).
The teams have approximately 6 weeks to design and build a fully functional robot.
Given that it is summer in Chile, many of the team members give up their summer vacation and holidays to work on the robot day and night, 5 times per week. Mathematics, physics, design, program and calculation is the easy part of their project.
The challenging part has been raising the funding:
$25,000 USD so that their team can travel to the U.S.A. and represent Chile in the Regionals.
The Heart of Chile
In July 2011, while I was working to support a small rural school in Chile with getting a formal robotics curriculum implemented in their technology classes, in the research process I learned about the work of Corazón de Chileno®. Immediately after I met the Executive Director and co-founder of the organization, José Ignacio Fernández, the spirit and vision of these young people touched my heart.
Hence why AndesBeat is working to support them with marketing, outreach, making contacts with multinational companies and raising awareness of their project and work so that they can travel to Los Angeles, California, U.S.A. on March 12, 2012.
Momentum from 2011
They are kicking off the year with lots of momentum as they finished out the second half of 2011 really strong.
In August 2011, one of their member teams, DragonBots (ages 10-13) was the only team from Latin America selected as one of the finalists for the Google Lunar X Prize Moonbots 2.0 Jr. competition. The other teams represented were from the U.S.A. and Asia. DragonBots finished 7th in the world in the competition.
And in October 2011, they pitched a project idea to a Techolab social innovation competition, to decrease the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) divide among Chile’s youth by offering a robotics program in the schools located in the slums of Chile. They were able to successfully raise a round of funding ($9,000 USD) to make it happen.
Challenged to their Potential in 2012
Now in their fifth year of the competition, this year they are working in the Universidad San Sebastián where the Engineering faculty has generously donated not only their facilities but their time and expertise to mentor the youth.
The teens spend their days on site designing, building and programming their robot, along with preparing marketing material, fundraising to pay for their travel expenses and promoting the love of science and technology throughout Chile.
As the Microsoft Kinect presented a new but exciting challenge for the team, they worked hard to recruit 10 new team members, increasing their national team to approximately 35. The team members come from different cities throughout Chile. However, throughout the country more than 1,200 young people participate in programs and competitions organized and sponsored by Corazón de Chileno®.
Dreaming it Forward
To date, Corazón de Chileno® team members have visited more than 30 schools in Chile and led cultural activities, while ultimately taking the FIRST philosophy to thousands of people.
It is estimated that at least 5 million people have seen their work and robots in the local and international media.
The team is also working with engineer David Neira, a National Innovation Prize recipient, to design and build a special wheelchair for a child with both mental and physical problems that disable him from using a normal wheelchair.
As they are working hard every day in every way to raise Chile, we ask that if you are able as a financial or in kind sponsor if you can be so generous as to help continue to raise them.
Alternatively, you can reach us at hello (at) andesbeat (dot) com if you wish to make a more confidential arrangement.