17 Apr 2024

Auckland students head to Dallas for world robotics championships

11:27 pm on 17 April 2024

A group of students from Lynfield College in Auckland will next week be heading to the United States for the world robotics championships.

Nine hundred teams from 56 countries will converge in Dallas next week for the largest robotics contest in the world.

The two Lynfield College teams have built robots that will compete against others on the world stage.

Sixteen-year-old William Hooper and 15-year-old Sohail Asyaban are heading the Lynfield College teams.

Their robot is already packed up and ready to be shipped to the US tomorrow.

Hooper described one of the other team's robots that they took into the Checkpoint studio instead.

"It's got six wheels, a couple of motors that drive the wheels, a brain that controls it all and some cables that connect it."

Asyaban said a lever on the robot could pivot and would be able to collect items.

Hooper said they had a year to make the robots that they would be competing with in the US.

"They use a motorised intake, it's what we call it, instead of pivot lever and it picks up these tri balls so it's a triangular shaped ball thing, and then in the last 30 seconds of the game you have to hang off a bar and certain elevations will give you different points."

Asyaban said they had "a competitive robot and a robot that can play".

"A robot that can play all it needs is a brain, you know to do the commands, a battery, a radio and that's it," he said.

"A competitive robot would have a drive train, a system to pick up the balls and such and do things fast and be the best basically."

Asked what made a winning robot, Hooper said a key thing was a good driver who was able to control the robot.

"So we have one person designated as our driver who controls the robot during a minute 45 period of driver control ... they command it to do what it needs to do and that's a really key thing for the robot."

But the sub-systems such as the thing which picks up the ball also need to be good, he said.

Asyaban said they got good at building robots just by doing it and learning.

The robot needs to be fast - but not too fast, he said.

"Some robots get too fast that they're just too heavy to support the speed itself."

Asyaban said they worked with people from the US and around the world in building it.

"It's an amazing competition cause everybody works together in some kind of way and everybody learns together."

Hooper said he liked "the variety of designs and ideas people have for the same challenges".

During the competition, a referee looked at the robots being operated and whoever had the highest number of points would win, he said.

Asyaban said he was extremely excited about it.

"I really love building robots and I can't wait to go and meet everybody else who does the same thing."

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