|Written by Mark Lawton
|Friday, 08 May 2009 17:12
Auckland Homeschool Team Free Range Robotics took away two awards at the 2009 Vex Robotics World Championships held 30th April – 2nd May in Dallas, Texas.
They won the World Championship title for Programming Skills where they had to design and programme a robot to navigate over a field and score goals in a one minute period without any human intervention. They were one of the two top scoring robots in the preliminaries and went on to face off against the other top team in the finals. The team watched and cheered as the Free range robot scored in 3 goals while picking up other blocks on the field and then managed to finish on the raised platform with 4 seconds to go. The final score was 28 to 14 giving Free Range Robotics the World Title in programming skills.
The team also came third in the Robot Skills Challenge where they had to control a robot by remote control over a course and score goals in a one minute period. Their Score was 59 points which was only one point behind the two finalists who scored 60 points.
In the tournament section the 280 qualifying teams from around the world were split into two divisions. Free range robotics came first in their division, despite the fact that their alliance partners could not compete for two games, and they had to compete with one robot against two opposing robots.
They went on to win both quarter final games. In the semi finals they won their first game and lost their second game by a technicality, even though they were ahead on points. In the nail-biting third game they teamed up with a Canadian team and lost by one point with the final score being 36-37.
Another homeschool team from the USA, along with their alliance partner, won the tournament.
Free range robotics have been meeting as a team at Massey University for ten months who kindly provided their premises and who have facilitated the NZ regional competitions.
“The home school team were great to work with and the Massey University team were inspired by their success and proud to be associated with such a great team of kids and parents”said Dr Johan Potgeiter, senior lecturer in mechatronics, engineering and industrial management at Massey University.
The team is grateful for the sponsorship provided by Frontline Technologies, Joseph Banks, NZMarks, Telecom, Leading Edge, Lions Foundation, Accplus, Imagio, Civileer, Mrs Higgins, Auckland Home Educators and Printstop. They are also grateful to the rest of the team who were not able to go to Dallas and the homeschooling community and others who helped support them.