Ann Arbor students take first place at the World Robot Olympiad in Thailand

By Meredith Bruckner - Community News Producer

Team USA at the 2018 World Robot Olympiad (Courtesy: Priyanka Meharia)

ANN ARBOR - Elementary students from Ann Arbor's Steamfun4Kids lab took home the LEGO Education Creativity Award at the World Robot Olympiad in Chiang Mai, Thailand on Sunday.

Steamfun4Kids is a company owned and operated by Priyanka Meharia, Ph.D. at 2219 Packard St.

"Our team mentors kids to participate in math, science, programming, investment and robotics competition(s)," Meharia wrote us via email. "I have been in operation for one year. I do this as my passion to inspire all kids to develop interest in STEM early on."

Meharia is a professor of finance at Eastern Michigan University and also runs the nonprofit STEM Education, which mentors children for free.

The World Robot Olympiad is a nonprofit organization that aims to bring young people together from around the world to develop problem-solving skills and creativity in robotics.

The WRO 2018 International Final saw nearly 500 teams from 63 countries compete for top robotics awards across age categories from 6 to 25 years old. 

According to the association, the LEGO Education Creativity Award goes to the team "that takes the most creative and imaginative approach to the design of their robotics solution in the Open Category."

The winners from the Ann Arbor team were Tanay Panja, Rohini Saha and William Ye.

The team won the nationals competition in West Virginia and moved onto the international round. From left: Tanay Panja, Rohini Saha and William Ye. (Courtesy: Priyanka Meharia)


"They developed a health positive grocery scanner," Meharia told us. "The shoppers scan their own groceries as they shop and get feedback on nutritional value. Healthy purchases receive a discount to promote smart buying. The scanner is built in the grocery cart so the users don’t have to wait in line to checkout. The project was developed using LEGO ev3."

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