First steps in the world of robotics
"I first discovered robotics at the age of 12-13. I started with some of my classmates at school, who introduced me to the world of robotics. We created a team and went to the national robotics competition WRO, where we arrived first. This first place gaves us right to a ticket for the 2016 Olympiad Robot World in India, where we came in 13th place ".
"I met my teacher, Diana Voutirakou in a robotics class that was taking place in the afternoon at my school. Robotics includes both construction and programming, and I realized that I preferred the second. To go further, I did some private lessons with Diana, so I knew the basics of programming. I knew I wanted to go back to this contest, so my teacher and I combined with a good school friend, a year younger than me, John Papadopoulos, and we decided to create a group to participate in this competition ".
"With this team, we called GRID, we won the National Robotics Competition, and represented Greece at the Robot World Olympiad WRO 2017 in Costa Rica. There we came seventh - and the first 8 teams were rewarded as Olympic champions - and based on the idea we presented, and the Chinese Ministry of Education selected us to be one of the 40 teams participating in the Global Youth for Innovation and Technology Conference in China in July 2018 and a corresponding competition ".
Jason Somoglou's 23-year-old coach, Diana Voutirakou - who won the Υoung Star Greek International Women Award as "Greek Woman of the Year" - a child prodigy who has become recognized in the two youngsters of the team."
"At the age of 15 he received a scholarship from Google scholarship with his skills, and already has in his resume two national first in robotics and three participations in international competitions, he worked as assistant to summer school coding at Boeing School and Thinkyoung in Brussels and is now a judge of the FLL (First Lego League) National Robotics Competition".
"I have trained Jason over the last three years and have always found it difficult to teach a child with his abilities. For me, Jason is no longer just a student but someone with whom we can collaborate on several robotic programming projects, and I think everyone who saw him present or met him will easily understand why".
The idea that won first place
The Hellenic Robotics Competition 2017 was on the theme of "Robots and Sustainable Development". "At the beginning, 2-3 weeks of thinking about the problem was necessary to find the problem we wanted to address ... So we decided to study daily life, cases of energy wasting or not and the use of alternative energy sources, "says Jason.
John proposed to put sensors in the houses, I had the idea to create an IoT system (Internet of Things). So we ended up in a system that "saves" energy, produces, transforms and shares it.
"Specifically, an energy-based real estate company in Texas gave us access to its data for research purposes. We analyzed four years' production and consumption - per second - of four different houses for the month of November and came to conclusions about why a house is surplus or overconsumed. At the same time, we have equipped every room with sensors to create "smart homes" that can save more energy. For example, when the occupant leaves the locker room to turn off the lights in the room on the left compared to the others.
"In addition, we installed photovoltaic sensors to track the sun, while we created pedestrian traffic lights that only work when it detects pedestrians on hold and not 24 hours a day. makes an application via Bluetooth, where the user can manage all devices and heating the house. In addition, both in gyms and children's parks kinetic energy by the generator is converted into electricity, for example, from the children's park to light in the street ".
"Finally, the actual data we have analyzed has led to the development of an algorithm to evaluate what needs energy in a home and which house can provide energy at any time, taking into account account of the distance that separates them.
"So we propose a logic to share energy. In addition, sustainability is based on learning people to share!"
"With this project, we took first place at the in China. With this project, we took first place at the World Youth Conference for Innovation and Technology".
"I'm really proud to have helped our country win such a great distinction," said team coach Diana. "At the same time, I am particularly pleased to know that our work for about a year and a half has been rewarded - our project has already won the Pan-Hellenic Robotics Competition and the Olympic distinction at the Costa Rica World Olympiad, but in China we have managed to win the first prizes in the three categories (Jury Prize Public Award and Engineering Award) .But from these three awards, I'm more proud of the engineering award.The children were asked to build a bridge with specific specifications in which a weight of up to 6 kilos has been placed. "
"We had to build a bridge with polystyrene foam, ropes and straws and push a miniature stroller, with a load ..." Jason explains. "We exceeded the maximum, which was 6 pounds. We were told it was the first time this country won the competition in China! "
"Throughout the preparation, I could not do anything. So the team needed to have as much knowledge as possible and the materials to build the best possible project, "says Diana." So when I saw that not only did they succeed, but they also won first. price, I felt a great pride. By helping our fellow men in this endeavor, we were able to compete and win on teams from around the world, supported by government agencies and receiving many supplies from schools, universities in their countries, etc., in order to their preparation for such a global event ".
The award-winning project is now under the auspices of SDSN Greece, the United Nations Solutions for Sustainable Development Network, the PESD (Political Economy Laboratory for Sustainable Development of the National Kapodistrian University of Athens) and ICRE8 ( International Center for Research on the Environment and the Economy), while supported by the School of Electrical and Computer Engineering of the National Technical University of Athens.
The team's expenses for participation in the World Robotics Olympics WRO 2017 in Costa Rica were covered by the National Bank of Greece, while for the participation in Shanghai in July 2018, the airline tickets were covered by EVIOL and the residence of the Chinese Ministry of Education.
From Shanghai to Paris
Jason Somoglou participated in October 2018 as a Junior Software Developer at the BIGinnovation and entrepreneurship fair in Paris (BPIFrance Inno Generation 2018), invited by the Franco-Hellenic innovation network Mazinnov, under the auspices of the French Embassy in Greece.
"It was my first time in a professional level competition, since what I've done so far has been youth contests," said Jason .
"I was able to understand the whole industry, the functioning of the network, I met many people who could help me in the future, teach me something ... For example, incubators that fund start-up groups like us to achieve a professional level. I would like to thank my main sponsors, Mazinnov, and advertising, Lectus adv, who took all my promotional material to participate in this event.
"Σειρά holds a scientific publication for the algorithms I wrote, so that they can be patented. And if an incubator is interested in the project, we can move on to a more professional prototype design.
In the video accessible within the article, Jason is interviewed on the TV Tray at the BIG exhibition in Paris.
"Despite being the youngest participant in the show in Paris, Jason was very professional and consistent, making me once again proud to be a teacher and coach," said Diana .
Olivier Dovergne, Attaché at the Economic Service of the French Embassy in Greece, representing the Mazinnov network, also fervently talks about Jason: "He is particularly mature, despite his young age, easily adapting to each context and is very He is also a child and his mother wants to enjoy his time as someone of his age, and he does well.
Tips for little developers
" But what does Jason himself recommend to children who want to follow in his footsteps? "If a child wants to participate in programming, he can search only on the Internet, a first programming language like scratch, to understand if there is something that really interests him." From there, you always need the support of a teacher and, of course, your participation in competitions. Of course, it also helps you speak good English, because all programming languages are in English and presentations to world events take place in that language. "
"The competitions are very important, the experience counts alone, whether the person holds a position or not," says Marina Koufidiaki, Jason's mother. "From there, the doors open slowly. Just love what you do and spend time there. He really wants challenge, of course, and support. Travel, lessons, equipment needed ... He needs a manager! There is a lot of work for parents, but when you see that it's fun and progress, it's not tiring. It takes time but it is not tiring. "
" Although he loves what he does, he will do it, even if he needs to put an end to some of his outings, his sleep or his free time, "said coach Diana Voutirakou. "And he must not be afraid of failure ... I have encountered a lot of obstacles and I think I will continue to meet them all the time because I try to burn my way on unknown roads. obstacles give lessons on how to continue and improve. "
" Olivier Dovergne of Mazinnov's Franco-Hellenic innovation network, gives three successive advices: "First of all, stay true to your dream, have ambitions for your idea - all over the world and not as a solution to a local problem - and prepare the next step to develop your project Secondly, share your idea and try it out, that's why networking is the key to modern innovation, and third, do not be afraid to fail. Learn from your failures and go further next time. "