Robotics students engineer their way to US for challenge


Kee-an Seet, Chaitany Goyal, Joseph Loveday, Reeanne Anderson and Ethan Pui. Picture: Jon Hewson        d468047
Kee-an Seet, Chaitany Goyal, Joseph Loveday, Reeanne Anderson and Ethan Pui. Picture: Jon Hewson        d468047

A GROUP of teenagers mentored at Curtin University are flying to the United States this week to compete in a robotics challenge against 68,000 high school students from around the world.

The ‘First’ Championship held in Houston, Texas from April 19 to 22 is run by a US not-for-profit charity established in 1989 to inspire young people’s interest in science and technology.

Five students from the 17-strong Curtin team, which includes four university engineering students, are from Rossmoyne and Willetton senior high schools.

The Curtin team recently reached the qualifying final in the South Pacific regional competition in Sydney, where it was also awarded the Engineering Inspiration Award, which made it eligible to compete in Texas.

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The robot building competition started on January 9 and under strict rules, limited resources and a six-week time limit, students were challenged to build and program industrial-size robots to play a difficult field game against like-minded robotic competitors. Their robotic creation ‘5663 Ground Control’ was recently shipped from Australia to the US.

Curtin University faculity of science and engineering outreach co-ordinator Gabrielle Migliore said the students completed 13 weeks of training at the university last year in mechanical and software engineering, programming and computer aided design.

“The robot they created was fantastic,” she said.

“They were in the top three in the Sydney competition.”

Four teams from Australia qualified for the global competition.

Ms Migliore said the Curtin team’s robot was fast, strong and able to climb rope.

“Every year, the quality of skills in students is increasing,” she said.

“It is really testament to the skills and experiences that are being taught in the schools.”