Innovative robotics competition to challenge the world’s brightest and best young minds

21 March 2019

FIRST® Robotics Competition will see teams battle it out to design and build working robots

  • Celebrating five years in Australia, the Macquarie University-hosted FIRST® Robotics Competition tasks students with designing and building working robots, capable of completing tasks and challenges
  • Australia’s brightest high school students will compete against those from the USA, China, Singapore, Taiwan and South Africa in the competition
  • The competition aims to reignite interest amongst Australian schoolchildren in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics)

Students from all over Australia will compete with students from 10 countries at Sydney’s Olympic Park Quaycentre for the 2019 Southern Cross (10-12 March) and South Pacific (15-17 March) FIRST® Robotics Competition (FRC).

The FIRST Robotics Competition charges students with designing, building and programming large robots and is celebrating five years hosting an international, qualifying regional event in Australia.

This year’s competition focuses on the outer limits of the universe in DESTINATION: DEEP SPACE in which each team’s robot must work in an alliance on a remote planet to collect enough cargo pods to take with them on their spaceship before lift-off.

Director of FIRST® Australia, Luan Heimlich, says the competition is about inspiring young people’s interest and participation in science and technology.

“The competition is about more than establishing a winning team, but rather aims to be a fun way for students to involve themselves in real world technologies. Thanks to the involvement of sponsors like Macquarie University, Google and Ford, students can also have continued access to their STEM interests through an entry program to university, or an internship or networking opportunity with one of our sponsors.

“Macquarie is proud to be involved to create a pathway for the next generation of STEM education and careers. The competition is all about team work and it inspires confidence and ambition in participating students, all while they have a great time building robots.”

Over the six-week period prior to the event, students work with mentors to design their robots – which can be up to six feet tall – using a kit of parts and a standard set of rules. Once complete, the young inventors will put their robots to the test to measure effectiveness, as well as the power of collaboration and determination of the students.

Each FIRST team will be judged on factors of design excellence, competitive play and sportsmanship.

Jess Selvay, Asia Pacific Innovation Acceleration Leader, Ford Motor Company, said: “At Ford, we see every day how great engineering talent helps us to design smarter vehicles for a world that is changing rapidly. The FIRST Robotics Challenge is an opportunity for us to nurture that next generation of engineers by creating a forum where they can be inspired, mentored and develop their skills.”

Sally-Ann Williams, Engineering Community & Outreach Manager for Google said: “Future innovations will come from the intersection of creativity and STEM skills. The FIRST robotics program not only inspires students to become the problem solvers of tomorrow but gives them the skills and pathway achieve that. We are proud to support the FIRST robotics program in Australia to increase participation of students from all backgrounds.”

FIRST® Australia (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology), is a not-for-profit organisation that runs a series of robotic competitions throughout the year, and allows students to be guided by engineering and technical mentors.

Hosted by Macquarie University, the FIRST® Robotics Competition aims to bring the excitement of sporting events to science and technology as the robots battle it out for success. The competition also aspires to open doors for the next generation of innovators in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM).

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.

FIRST® Australia was set up in 2010 at Macquarie University’s North Ryde campus, Sydney. Since then it has grown to engage hundreds of teams from around Australia across its suite of robotics events.

Annually, the not-for-profit organisation hosts the FIRST® Robotics Competition (FRC® ) for students in Grades 9-12; FIRST® Tech Challenge (FTC® ) for Grades 7-12; FIRST® LEGO® League (FLL® ) for Grades 4-8; Junior FIRST® LEGO® League (Jr.FLL®) for Grades K-3, and RoboCamps during school holidays. In 2014 FIRST® Australia hosted the inaugural Australian FRC®, the largest student robotics competition in the Asia Pacific.

To learn more about FIRST, go to firstaustralia.org.

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