Lessons from Google Science Fair

Hi today i’m gonna share my problems here.

I’ve worked in robotic club for 2 years and passed many failed in my experiments. Started from my research in measuring object distance using stereo vision method. I’ve took thousands samples for that research, it was tiring and vary boring but my senior kept forcing me to finish the research. I did it in 3 months, and the result is not as accurate as we expected. But when i look at the other side i realized that i should have be proud of for what i’ve done, i’m the one who accomplished a research in the first semester. Even it’s just a failed experiments, we keep publish them on national journal because my lecturer said that failed is also a lesson.

The second failed is when i tried to make fire fighter robot. I did it in second semester, we took six months to make the robot. The robot was able to find the fire in labirin. It also able to extinguished the fire using its fan.We lost at the competition because we can’t made an efficient algorithm and the other team could extinguished the fire faster than us. I thought i was failed just because i can’t won the competition.

The third failed is when i tried to make robot humanoid soccer in third and fourth semester. And i’ve wrote them in previous article. I thought i was failed to. I thought it wasn’t fair because i sacrificed many things on it and can’t win the competition.

And this year is the last year for me to join the competition. I’ve frustrated of working on it, many things didn’t go well and we don’t know why. I am working with my team which is consist of 7 people. Three people from mechanical engineering, two people from  electrical engineering and 2 from informatics engineering. Each person have their own capabilities, but we still can’t fix our problems.

Yesterday, i found a new channels in youtube, it’s about google science fair. There were many young scientist who invented a great technology. I wonder how can they invent such as technology in their age. I was curious and watched the event from the opening ceremony, there was something interesting on the opening ceremony. It was a great greeting from Susan Wojcicki the senior vice president at google and science anthisiast.

“No matter who wins, i know all of you will go on to do amazing things. And i hope you continue your love of science, and i hope you continue thinking big, and i hope you continue your ambitions, and i hope you keep trying for things go well and things that don’t go well. That’s part of being a scientist, is trying to figure out what worked and didn’t work and then making it better the next time.”

 I love that quotes, i never knew that failed is a part of being scientist. I remember that Thomas Alva Edison were failed for thousands times and it took years for him to make the first lamp. How can i be a scientist if a little pressure will knock me down. They tried for years, i just tried for months and i wanna give it up?. I’ve learned that being scientist is not about winning competition, because competition is just a reference point so we can compete to each other.

I was continued watching the next video, it’s a video from young scientist from canada who invent a flashlight using energy from human heat. Her name is Ann Makosinski and she is 16 years old, can you imagine how could a little girl make such a great invention. It seems crazy but there she is, the one who harvest human heat for flashlight energy. I kept watching the video and found some great statement from her:

“I think the biggest mistake people make about kids who enter science fairs, is that we are top of the class, straight A students. I am not the genius nerd some people expect me to be!. I think the only difference is that we’re always questioning how things work.”

And the end of the video she said:

“I’ve learned that we shouldn’t be scared by how crazy our ideas seem. Harvesting human heat? I thought that only happened in the movies!”

 Some people said that the people who enter robotics club is a freak genius, sometimes i’m proud of it but sometimes i really want to say that robotics is not a set of genius people. We just have a spirit to make our dreams real. We have bravery to think big, to think beyond what other think. 

Ever since i was a kid, i’ve been interested in robotics, tried to fix every toys and made some modification on them even though it will be broken in the end. I thought working on robotics is only a dream, but i really tried to make it real even i didn’t know what to do. I remember when some of my friends said that  i’m crazy, but i keep building my dreams and now i realize that we shouldn’t be scared by how crazy our ideas seem.

I continued to watch the next video, and it was came from young scientist from istanbul turkey. Her name is elif bilgin 16 years old, she invented a bio plastic from banana’s peels. She did the research for 2 years. Can you imagine 14 years old girl took a research for next 2 years?. She was willingly to leave their comfort zone. It’s surely a great decision for her and the result is much more than excellent. In the video she said that:

“I actualy quits for a while in the middle of the first year, for like three months and then i said well i came so far why i have to stop now. My prinsip is allowed me to discover something really new.”

“People should never give up on their goals, i didn’t and i discovered something brand new and this really suprised me.”

It’s not only you who ever feel the failure,  everyone who had a great dream will fall many times. They just can handled it, and making it better the next time. The question is, can we manage our spirits and accept the failure?, because without spirit we will never gain our goals, and without failure we will never know what success really means.

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