Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis congratulated the student winners of the International Robotics Olympiad, who took home the top prize earlier this month, inviting them to the Maximos Mansion.
Greek students Iris Angelopoulou, Vasiliki Iliadi, Christos Rentzis and Alkiviadis Kotsikopoulos won gold by creating a “smart” white cane for the blind.
The Greeks, who were on the PlaisioBots team, beat teams from countries such as Korea and Russia, who have enormous experience in robotics.
“I have always been very close to all the robotics competitions and I want to tell you that I am excited by the talent, ingenuity, and interest shown by the robotics teams,” said Kyriakos Mitsotakis.
“And when of course they can and do excel in international competitions, it is even better. You make us, all of us, extremely proud”.
The smart cane that was created is specially designed for outdoor areas, recognising obstacles and their position, protecting the user’s head from obstacles, and communicating with the traffic lights to inform the user if they are green or red. It also has a bluetooth tracking application.
The Greek Prime Minister asked the students how they chose the idea for the smart cane. They explained that they were inspired by ab image of a visually impaired woman who had difficulty crossing a pedestrian crossing due to parked cars, and used market research to better understand the needs of potential users.
“It is interesting that you did market research,” he said.
“Technology has to work for someone. Have users. And what you are saying is that in the end, a person with a visual impairment may have a much greater response to this type of alert – unlike an audible signal – it is very interesting. Impressive.”
“The next step is now to get a patent and produce it.”
The PlaisioBots team was formed by the company Plaisio and is staffed by children and relatives of employees of the company.