Full-STEAM ahead: The Scots College team wins NSW robotics competition

A team of budding engineers at The Scots College have claimed the state’s junior robot soccer crown for 2016.

Playing with machines that they built and programmed themselves, the boys led Scots to a 10-point victory in the NSW RoboCup Junior Championship soccer division held last month at the University of NSW.

Founded in 1997, RoboCup, short for Robot Soccer World Cup, is an international competition in which teams of university students field handmade robots in a soccer tournament. Australia has great form in this competition with the UNSW team winning the Standard Platform League division last year.

RoboCup Junior, sponsored by UNSW’s School of Computer Science and Engineering, is aimed at primary and secondary school students and attracts approximately 4000 participants nationally every year to test their robotics expertise in various challenges.

The soccer event is a sophisticated competition requiring students to assemble their own robots incorporating ultrasonic, infrared and light sensors and then program them to play soccer autonomously, relying on the sensors to navigate the field and track an infrared light-emitting ball.

As part of the College’s Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics (STEAM) Co-Curricular Program, students meet on a weekly basis to work on their robots.

But the winning team of Emlyn Evans (15), Geordan Lirantzis (16), Harry Mead (15), Alex Muddle (16) and Andrew Taylor (16) went the extra mile, working long into many nights to produce champion robots.

Their efforts were rewarded when, despite hardware and software problems on the first day of competition, they secured a place in the National Championships to be held later this month.

“These boys typify the spirit of the Brave Hearts, Bold Minds education philosophy at Scots,” said Mr René Mercer, Master in Charge STEAM.

“By competing at a level that requires significant commitment, creativity and intellectual excellence, they have made the college very proud.”

And the boys hope to make the college prouder yet. They are working hard to refine and improve their robots in preparation for the national competition.

This ceaseless dedication bodes well for their chances. As the Brazilian soccer star Pele once noted: “Success is no accident. It is hard work, perseverance, learning, studying, sacrifice and most of all, love of what you are doing or learning to do.”

Indeed. May the best robot win!

Read more:

Scots victorious in NSW RoboCup championships – The Scots College website, September 5

RoboCup World Championship: University of New South Wales engineers defend world title in China – Andrew Griffits, ABC News online, July 22, 2015

RoboCup Junior soccer, RoboCup Junior website

Junior robots shape future – UNSW Newsroom, August 30, 2011

Full-STEAM ahead: The Scots College team wins NSW robotics competition
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Author: Mindy Laube

Mindy Laube is a creative content specialist with a strong background in digital and print journalism gained over a 14-year career at the Sydney Morning Herald. You can find her on Twitter or LinkedIn.

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