News Local Robotics students in Cyprus create Vrakaman-bot (photos)

Robotics students in Cyprus create Vrakaman-bot (photos)

Pupils of the Nicosia-based Epiteugma Training Centre created the “Vrakaman-bot,” a Cypriot robot which dances to the tunes of traditional songs.

Vrakaman-bot who is dressed in traditional Cypriot attire, is a joint creation by pupils of Epiteugma and eight unaccompanied children asylum seekers who participated in classes at the centre between February 2019-June 2019.

According to the robot’s creators, the project aims to combine tradition, acceptance and robotics.

Vrakaman-bot is 1.50 m tall and is made of metal. “It has the ability to move its hands, feet and its head in the same way that the traditional vraka dancers do,” Epiteugma’s director Stavros Charalambous told Phileleftheros.

According to Charalambous, the project has been named “Epiteugma Hope ROBOGEES,” a wordplay between robotics and refugees.

“We wanted to offer a chance to children and unaccompanied refugees, who most probably would have never participated in robotics classes,” Charalambous said.

Vrakaman-bot was first presented in the Cyprus Robotics Competition, Robotex 2019 and has received awards in competitions in Spain and the US, Charalambous said.

It was also awarded on June 6 at the Cyprus Education Leaders Awards 2019.

“In April we came first in an international competition in Spain. In our next participation in 2020 we will include the refugee pupils in our team,” he said.

Epiteugma has already contacted the President of the House of Representatives Demetris Syllouris who will arrange for the issuing of the travel documents of the refugee pupils, Charalambous added.

A meeting of cultures

Pupil and mentor of the programme Alkinoos Tomarides described his experience teaching robotics to refugee children from Congo, Somalia and Syria.

“They were hungry for learning… We had the class for two hours per week. We started with mechanics, then we showed the electronics and then the programming,” Tomarides said.

As the refugee pupils did not speak but a few words in Greek, the lessons were taught in English.

“We decided to create Vrakaman-bot because we wanted to help them feel comfortable and integrate with more ease. During the process, we showed them Cypriot songs and videos with traditional dances,” he added.

As Tomarides says,  the project was also a learning experience for the Cypriot pupils who interacted with the refugee children. “We talked about the languages of each place and we found some similarities with Cypriot Greek. In fact, we learned how to write our names in their languages.

“Our aim was for the world to see our work and inspire other similar programmes. We, on our side, are winners, as we received smiles, the pleasure of giving and we got to know other cultures.”

Top Stories

244 new cases, out of 11,163 tests announced on Friday

The Health Ministry announced 244 new Coronavirus cases out of 11,163 PCR and rapid antigen tests on Friday, 15 January, taking confirmed infections to...

Where to get antigen rapid tests on Saturday

The Health Ministry announced the following antigen rapid test sites for Saturday, 16 January 2021:   LIMASSOL Tassos Papadopoulos building – TEPAK, Limassol 08:30-16:30 Church Agia Varvara, Zakaki...

President Anastasides to get the second dose of COVID-19 vaccine next Monday

Cyprus President, Nicos Anastasiades, will receive the second dose of the vaccine against COVID-19, next Monday at the Health Center of Latsia, according to...

Expert says milder version of pandemic likely to be present in 2022

Dr Constantinos Tsioutis, Assistant Professor, Internal Medicine & Infection Prevention and Control at the Department of Medicine of the European University Cyprus and head...

Spain’s COVID-19 incidence climbs above 500 cases per 100,000 people

Increased activity at hospitals and health centres near Madrid was seen on Friday (January 15) as Spain's coronavirus incidence as measured over the past...

Taste

Squash soup

Ingredients: 1 kg pumpkin, cut into small cubes, approximately 5 cups 2 medium (400g) sweet potatoes, cut into cubes, approximately 2 ½ cups 1 chopped leek, only...

Mezedes

No visit to Cyprus is complete without enjoying the traditional meal of many small dishes known as ‘meze’. This large feast, which has been a...

Prawns with fried cheese, barley shaped pasta

Put the barley shaped pasta into a small pan with salted water, bring to a boil and when tender, drain. Peal the prawns leaving...

Salmon and shrimp sheftalies

Mix all ingredients for tabbouli in a bowl and keep to one side so flavours can combine. Prepare the sheftalies: wash and soak the casing...