Despite the tournament being in its first year, the NERD Open Championship was a great success. The event co-hosted by Education & Technology Center and the Lebanese American University in Byblos, gathered teams from 31 schools, public organizations, and non-governmental organizations on November 10, 2018 to challenge for the national title in SUMO, Line Tracking, and Ball Collector.
The official opening ceremony of the 2018 OC season initiated the event's schedule with a speech by Dr. Raymond Ghajar, Professor and Interim Dean of the School of Engineering, who insisted on the importance of this event to LAU and the School of Engineering as it bridges the gap between school students and the university and for the students to have an outlook on what their future in engineering would be like at LAU. NERD Founder and the Education & Technology Center General Manager, Mr. Ghazi Mtaweh thanked LAU for their continuous support to NERD and stressed on the importance of collaboration between ETC and LAU, which started in 2012 co-hosting the Arab Robotics Championship and the extension of that collaboration in 2019 to co-host the FIRST LEGO League Open International. On his part, Mr. Imad Ashkar, Director of the private education sector at the Ministry of Education started his speech addressing Dr. Ghajar and Mr. Mtaweh by saying "this is a speech from the heart" thanking both the private sector institutions on setting an example of what their collaboration brings to youth and the country as a whole, when both hold values of respect and inclusion above all, wished both institutions a great success with their upcoming events, and vowed to support their initiative anyway possible in the coming months and years.
The 3 winning teams in Ball Collector: RoboDozers, Checkmate, and Under-Construction, competed in 15 rounds throughout the day to qualify for the final at the Arab Robotics Championship in Kuwait, while the two finalists in SUMO: STC UNO and STC Smarto battled each other out in a match that showed the best out of their robot's designs.
As for Line Tracking, the new scoring regulations set by the Arab Robotics Association allowed the 27 participating teams to remain competitive until the very last-minute compared to last year's of the tournament by distributing the team's final score on the three maps as follows: 20% for level 1 and 2, and 60% for the last map, compared to earlier years where teams got eliminated between one level and the one that followed. Each team brought their best on tournament day, and the final secret map proved to be a surprise to some, however all teams were able to perform their robots with slight differences at the top ranks, making the last minutes of the matches teeth clenching. The final ranking brought Smart Robot, King of Robots, Immune, Autobots, Bilal II, to the top of the pack and qualified them to the RoboChallenge to take place in China later on in August 2019.
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