High school students from Asia Pacific and the United States showcase design and engineering skills at Australia Regional FIRST® Robotics Competition

24 February 2015

Students learn problem solving and teamwork in addition to designing and building robots by working with professional mentors to participate at Australia Regional event Sydney, March 12-14 2015

High-school students from around Australia, as well as neighbouring countries of the Asia Pacific including Singapore, Taiwan, and China will have the opportunity to showcase their hard work after six weeks of designing and building an original robot in the inaugural Australia Regional FIRST® (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) Robotics Competition (FRC®).

Competing at Sydney Olympic Sports Centre, 36 teams of students and engineering and technical Mentors will demonstrate their skill for science, mathematics, and technology. They will compete for honours and recognition that reward design excellence, competitive play, sportsmanship, and high-impact partnerships between schools, businesses, and communities.

Founded in the U.S. by inventor Dean Kamen, who introduced the IBOT Mobility System and the Segway® Human Transporter, FIRST® was created to inspire an appreciation of science and technology in young people, their schools, and their communities. Now in its 23rd season, the FIRST® Robotics Competition anticipates close to 2,900 teams in the U.S. and 16 countries worldwide to compete in 54 Regional Events and 40 District Competitions.

More than 1,000 students will compete at the Australia Regional to earn a spot at the Championship to be held April 23-26 in St. Louis, Mo.

Macquarie University signed an agreement with FIRST® to host regional events in Australia from 2015 to 2018.

This year’s game is RECYCLE RUSHSM, a recycling-themed game played by two Alliances of three robots each. Robots score points by stacking totes on scoring platforms, capping those stacks with recycling containers, and properly disposing of pool noodles, representing litter.

FIRST® is more than an annual science and engineering competition. It is very much a training ground for young people to build their self-esteem and team skills year-round, and to open their minds to a career in these fields,” said Luan Heimlich, Regional Director of FIRST® Australia.

“At a time when both secondary and tertiary education have seen a decrease in enrolments in science, engineering, and mathematics subjects, FIRST® has seen an increasing number of high school students working on an international level in robotics. It’s exciting to see young people seizing the opportunity to network with peers, big-name sponsors like Google, and potential employers. We at Macquarie University are also keen to show them future pathways, such as our FIRST® Engineering Entry Scheme, the only one of its kind in the country.”

This season, participating FIRST® students are eligible to apply for more than $20 million in scholarships from 180 scholarship providers.

Over a six-week timeframe, students work with professional engineering Mentors to design a robot that solves a problem using a Kit of Parts and a standard set of rules. Once these young inventors create the robot, their teams participate in regional competitions that measure the effectiveness of each robot, the power of collaboration, and the determination of students.

FIRST® Robotics Competition Asia Pacific Sponsors and Volunteers come from some of the most highly regarded organizations in the area, including Macquarie University, Google, Ford, Optus, LEGO Education, AARNet, National Instruments, Rockwell Automation, Nicole and Jerry Budd, Newscorp, BAE Systems, MacICT Centre, AndyMark, Autodesk, Manton Sea-Air, and CSC. Sponsors provide resources including time and talent from professional Mentors, services, equipment, financial contributions, and Volunteers.

FIRST® Australia, set up in 2010 at Macquarie University, primarily coordinates the tournaments and internal operations of FLL®, FTC® and FRC® within Australia. Since its inception, FLL® has grown to more than 300 teams, FTC® more than 50 teams, and FRC® to 25 teams.

The public is encouraged to attend, catch the excitement of this intense competition, and cheer on their favourite teams. Admission is free.

About FIRST®
 Accomplished inventor Dean Kamen founded FIRST® (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) in 1989 to inspire an appreciation of science and technology in young people. Based in Manchester, N.H., FIRST® designs accessible, innovative programs to build self-confidence, knowledge, and life skills while motivating young people to pursue opportunities in science, technology, and engineering. To learn more about FIRST, go to http://firstaustralia.org/


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