This year’s Blue and Gold football game weekend will have more than just one football game for some students. The Engineering Department will host its second annual Collegiate Mechatronic Football Competition at Stepan Center on April 23.Jim Schmiedeler, associate professor of Aerospace and Mechanical Engineering, said the competition is a one-hour football game between robots built by students.Schmeideler said the competition is part of a 13-week effort to design, build, test and demonstrate the skills of the robots. “The students have done a terrific job. They have progressed with the help of input from last year’s competition,” Schmeideler said. The students officially began the design portion of the project in January and started manufacturing and testing their robots after Spring Break, Schmiedeler said.“The students have been driving prototype robots around the halls of Fitzpatrick for a while now, and they’ve been outside kicking field goals and throwing passes,” Schmiedeler said. This is the program’s second official year of competition. “The robots have tackle sensors that light up to indicate a tackle,” Schmiedeler said. “Essentially it shows how hard one robot slams into another.” “Alumni from the Department were interested in sponsoring the event,” Schmiedeler said. “They want to evaluate the success of the competition here at Notre Dame and investigate the possibilities of intercollegiate competition.” While the outcome of the game is important for the trophy, Schmeideler said the grade students receive is based on a test that takes place the week before. The robots go through a series of tests to evaluate their abilities from controllability to kicking and throwing accuracy. The event was started by a Notre Dame alumnus in honor of his son, Brian Hederman, who was a student in the Engineering Department. Hederman, who passed away before he graduated, came up with the idea of a football-playing robot. “Last year’s game had an exciting finish,” Schmiedeler said. “The Blue team fumbled on a drive to the end zone with no time left that would have won them the game. The fans and students were jumping and cheering. It was an intense game.” Students control the robots from the sidelines, and two students are allowed on the field to control the offense. Also on the field are three referees from RecSports.Motorola sponsors the event, Schmiedeler said. The robots play an adapted version of football in which each team has eight players, and they play on a smaller field with a souvenir-sized football. A completed pass is the quarterback throwing the ball and hitting the receiver, who doesn’t necessarily have to catch the ball to complete the pass. “We’ve invited faculty and students from other universities to promote the idea of a possible league someday,” Schmeidler said. “We would love to have Notre Dame earn a national title in Collegiate Mechatronic Football.”
A group of Guyanese on Monday assembled outside of the Ministry of the Presidency for a peaceful protest, calling for Guyana’s oil to be managed and sold in a transparent process. Recognised as the Youth Movement Guyana, the protesters called for the country’s oil sales to be transparent, indicating that this resource must not be devalued.This came in light of the Department of Energy’s revelation that Government plans to approach traders directly and have them buy Guyana’s oil. This announcement was first made in a Bloomberg report, which the agency later confirmed, adding that this arrangement was only intended for the first three crude lifts.Standing on the picketing lines, Robin Singh shared that US oil giant, ExxonMobil should be given the task of selling one lift of oil, until a new Government is elected. He said that with a caretaker Administration currently presiding over Guyana, any money obtained from a sale should be kept aside until a legitimate Government takes over. “We’re proposing that until the elections, there’s going to be one lifting of the oil. Exxon can handle that. Exxon can sell it and Exxon can put the money in escrow for whoever comes into Government or back into the Government. That is straightforward,” he positioned.According to him, this matter is too important to ignore, since it entails a substantial amount of the country’s money at stake, depending on the value of oil and what it is sold for. Nevertheless, it was indicated that the Movement will continue to watch over the actions of any Government to ensure transparency.Guyanese holding placards and voicing their concerns at the protest line on Monday outside President David Granger’s office“It’s too much to just let it slide and say ‘Well its elections’. No. This is trying to sell before you got and the reasons given are not logical or valid…We’re going to keep monitoring whoever is in Government to make sure that they’re transparent. If you want to sell oil, advertise. We have a Tender Board. We have a Procurement Act. Follow those laws and we’re okay. I think we’d be better off. Oil is not going to sell more or less than it’s worth and at the market price.”Meanwhile, Don Singh also spoke with Guyana Times, indicating that citizens are very sceptical about secretive deals, ever since the signing bonus was denied by Finance Minister, Winston Jordan and later brought to light.“We had that PSA in 2015 that we knew nothing about. We didn’t hear anything about it. Then we heard rumours of an oil bonus and it was denied and then we heard about it a year later. When I heard Dr Bynoe talking about this now, face-to-face meetings, thanks to Bloomberg for actually busting it because we, Guyanese once again would not have known anything about it. We’re talking about a lot of money here, three million barrels of oil. We would have to pay brokerage fees. Now we don’t know how we paying those brokerage fees to and as Bloomberg pointed out, face-to-face meetings are highly unusual. These things are done easily through Skype or whatever,” he said. Singh, who has been involved in other citizen-driven movements in the past, insisted that the Department should have waited until after the March elections when a new Government will be elected. He too expressed that Exxon should have brokered the first oil sale, since the value of the crude would be determined, allowing Guyana to assess its earnings from other such transactions.“With an interim Government in place and elections less than 10 weeks away, why not just wait? Why not let just Exxon do the first sale because they have layers of transparency that they would have to report to and we would also get an adequate idea of the value and product that we have. Why this rush and this ‘face-to-face meetings’ and we will secure something in the future? And then we’re asking the broker, whoever that is, to handle our backroom…What is going on? I’m weary of this nonsense that is going on.”Nadira Mohan also held a placard, stating that Guyana’s oil must not be sold for less than it is worth. She fears that with backroom deals, citizens will not reap the full benefits.“It must not be devalued. We need that it must be spent properly and all Guyanese must equally [benefit],” Mohan voiced.The Energy Department had indicated via a statement on Sunday that its uncertainty about the quality of the crude and the cost to refine it was another factor in this decision. This is despite Exxon consistently announcing that the crude it has found in the Liza Field is of high quality.The Department admitted that this may be considered a “novel” approach, a point that was made by the Bloomberg article. However, the Department defended the unusual situation by noting that learning from the traders was a strategic move that has precedent.