A reception was organized for student team Enigma Systems at BRAC University on 13 August, 2022 on them winning second place in Kibo Robot Programming Challenge (Kibo-RPC) alongside a best Crew Award in October 2021.
The Kibo-RPC is an educational program hosted by Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) in cooperation with the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). During this challenge, students use computer programming skills to control free-flying robots (Astrobee and Int-Ball) to solve problems in Japanese experiment module "Kibo" aboard International Space Station (ISS).
The reception was hosted by STEMX-365, an organization cultivating the technological literacy necessary to meet the demands of the increasingly digital global economy, in association with BRAC University, the Robotics Club of BRAC University, and IEEE Robotics and Automation Society BRAC University Student Branch Chapter.
Dr. Danielle Wood, Assistant Professor of Media Arts & Sciences at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), conveyed the greetings and congratulated all the participants. She shared her experience in space studies and on robotics competition Zero Robotics which is motivated by a current problem of interest to United States Department of Defense’s research and development agency Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), NASA and MIT. Wood also spoke on the similarities of Zero Robotics to Kibo-RPC.
Another speaker, Jose V. Benavides, Project Manager for NASA ISS Astrobee Facility, shared his experiences, explained opportunities for foreign students and gave their contact information for enthusiastic student researchers.
Among those in attendance from BRAC University were Vincent Chang, Vice Chancellor, Dave Dowland, Registrar, Dr. Sadia Hamid Kazi, Chairperson of the Department of Computer Science and Engineering, faculty members Professor Md. Khalilur Rahman, Dr. Md. Golam Robiul Alam Professor and research associates Abdullah Hill Kafi and Raihana Shams Islam Antara.
Among the other attendees were Professor Md. Shazzad Hosain of the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering of North South University, Henry Orosco, Pre-Silicon Verification Engineer at Intel Corporation, Thomas Verrette, Director and Producer at Zero Gravity, Kyoichi Arakane, Senior Engineer at JAXA, Nukui Tomoyuki-San, Kibo Manager, Md. Anwar Hossain, Country Director of STEMX-365 BD, Saba Jamin Chowdhury, Co-founder of STEMX-365, Jasmine Chowdhury, Co-founder STEMX-365, Mizanul Hoq Chowdhury, Founder and President of STEMX-365.
All the speakers hoped for Enigma Systems’ achievements to motivate many other robotics and programming practitioners to get involved in more competitions and move toward their goals. The Kibo-RPC works with a similar focus, enabling participants to learn cutting-edge methodologies and hone their skills in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM). By getting the opportunity to talk with professional scientists and engineers and observe their work up close, it hopes for students to be inspired to develop their own educational and professional goals.
In the first Kibo-RPC in 2019, 313 teams competed from 7 countries with 48 teams from Bangladesh as observers. In the second one in 2021, 286 teams took part from 11 countries and 22 teams actively participated from Bangladesh. Enigma Systems from BRAC University is going to represent Bangladesh to the world after succeeding in the preliminary round of the Kibo Robot Programming Challenge 2022. This year, a third Kibo-RPC is being organized. In the preliminary round in July 2022, Enigma Systems has again secured first place among all teams from Bangladesh and are going to compete in the final round in the ISS as Team Bangladesh in September.