Thunder in China

The Macquarie University student robotics teams 3132 Thunder Down Under and 5331 the Lighting Bots recently competed in Beijing, China at the World Adolescent Robot Contest 2015 (WARC 2015).

The teams both performed well, winning the Engineering Design and Mechanics Award categories respectively, and jointly the Creativity Award. The Macquarie teams also provided a robot to the Mexican team competing in the FIRST® Tech Challenge, also part of the WARC, who won their competition.

The WARC 2015 involved more than 400 teams and was part of the World Robot Conference (WRC2015), the biggest robot fair ever held in China. The event was one of the first held to implement President Xi’s call to develop the robot industry.

Having finished competing, select members of the Macquarie team are now touring the area providing robotics training and activities for schools in China as part of FIRST Australia’s continuing international outreach.

Closer to home, this weekend more than 600 school students will attend campus to compete in two of Australia’s largest robotics tournaments the National FIRST LEGO League and FIRST Tech Challenge tournaments.

FIRST Australia Director, Luan Heimlich, says the competitions are more than a fun weekend activity for the kids – it could be setting them up for a lifetime of innovation and discovery in science.

“The students who compete this weekend will be given the opportunity to network with other teams, with our event sponsors, and with our FIRST mentors and alumni who have already moved through the program and gone on to undertake degrees and internships in the STEM fields.”

Community members are welcome to attend; details below:

Where: Various locations on campus

  • The team pits (where teams can work on their robots) – E7B
  • Competing space – Macquarie Theatre
  • Ford Fuel Innovation Activation – outside Macquarie Theatre


  • FIRST LEGO League – Saturday 5 December, 8am-5pm
  • FIRST Tech Challenge –  Saturday 5 December, 10am – 8pm and Sunday 6 December, 8am – 5pm