Robocup Junior

RoboCupJunior tournament hits the Hunter

The 2014 Hunter Regional RoboCupJunior tournament was held last week at The Forum. Students from 20 schools across the Hunter were involved with the event with 65 teams of 220 primary and secondary school students from 20 schools in the Hunter region took over the Forum to work collaboratively in teams and solve complex problems using Lego Mindstorm robots.

For young students, RoboCupJunior provides an exciting introduction to the field of robotics, a new way to develop technical abilities through hands-on experience with electronics, hardware and software, and a highly motivating opportunity to learn about teamwork while sharing technology with friends. In contrast to the one-child-one-computer scenario typically seen today, RoboCupJunior provides a unique opportunity for participants with a variety of interests and strengths to work together as a team to achieve a common goal.

The competition involves several challenges; Soccer, Dance and Rescue, with each emphasizing both cooperative and competitive aspects.

In the Rescue division teams programmed their robots to search for a tin can in peril and return it to safety. The Soccer Division was by far the most difficult for the budding programmers, allowing just one team to perform in a match on competition day.

Pairing technical skills with creative flair was the challenge in the Dance Division, where the robots were programmed to dance to hit songs.

The students designed their robots’ costumes, with themes ranging from Pokémon to Superman. There was even a circus ringmaster with a petrified tightrope-walking robot!

First place winners have the chance to move on to the state-level competition, which will be held at the University of Sydney on 28-29 August. These include students from Hamilton South PS, Central Coast Grammar, Hunter School of Performing Arts, St Phillip’s Christian College Waratah, Kotara HS and St Phillip’s Christian College Port Stephens.

The tournament is a collaborative initiative organised by school teachers, parents, University of Newcastle staff and students from the University of Newcastle’s NUbots robotics team.

With Orica coming aboard as an industry sponsor in 2014 a new award was introduced – The Orica Award for Best Represented School. This award was presented to the school that displayed the highest level of excellence in behaviour, tournament placing, high-spirited team work, and assisting others at and within the event. Congratulations to Award winners Kotara High School who are now the proud owners of a new LEGO EV3 Robot.

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