Cheered on by the Prime Minister The Hon Malcolm Turnbull and Vice-Chancellor Professor S Bruce Dowton, more than 1000 students from around the Asia Pacific recently put their skills to the test at Australia’s largest student robotics competition.
Supported by industry leaders, educators, families and fans, and united by a mutual love of science, technology, and engineering, nearly 50 high school student teams from the United States, Singapore, Taiwan, China, India, and Australia converged at the Sydney Olympic Park Sports Centre on 17-19 March to launch robots they’d designed, built and programmed themselves over a six week period.
The 2016 ‘Stronghold’ challenge had a medieval theme that required the robots to overcome obstacles and weaken their opponents’ defences by catapulting ‘boulders’ to conquer their castle tower.
Much more than just a game for robots, the FIRST Robotics Competition (FRC), is part of a much larger FIRST® (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) program aimed at inspiring and educating students in STEM subjects (science, technology, engineering and maths), and encouraging them to consider further study or career options in these fields.
Joined on the sidelines by Foreign Minister The Hon Julie Bishop, and the Member for Reid The Hon Craig Laundy MP, Prime Minister Turnbull said they were excited to visit the event and to be so inspired by such brilliant young minds.
“They’re right here at the cutting edge of technology; the technology that delivers jobs, the opportunities of the 21st century for our children and our grandchildren.”
The winning team alliance will compete at the world championships in St Louis in April; an honour which was collaboratively achieved by Team 3132 Macquarie University, Team 4613 Barker College and Team 6035 Ulladulla.
Team 6035 was supported by Robots in the Outback – a program which Macquarie University proudly partners in. Volunteer mentors drove donated cars to 12 high schools in rural and regional New South Wales to support teams with expertise and guidance in order to help them compete.
Take a look at some of the social media highlights from the event below.