MECHTASTIC: Lismore High Student Lachlan Zimmermann, 14, and Reagan Friederick, 14, took part in the Northern Rivers Regional Workshop and Challenge as part of the Robocup Junior Australia.
MECHTASTIC: Lismore High Student Lachlan Zimmermann, 14, and Reagan Friederick, 14, took part in the Northern Rivers Regional Workshop and Challenge as part of the Robocup Junior Australia. Marc Stapelberg

Lismore students showcase robot tech in Robocup challenge

THEY may not be as technical as the robots on Transformers - yet - but Lachlan Zimmermann and Reagan Friederick's mechatronic designs are still impressive.

The two Year 8 Lismore High School students showcased their programming, engineering and design skills at the inaugural Robocup Junior Northern Rivers Regional Workshop and Challenge yesterday.

"It's easy to get a basic design but you've got to play around before it becomes perfect," Reagan said.

The workshop and challenge involved creating a robot from Lego and Mindstorms programming software capable of completing an obstacle course.

Robocup organiser and Lismore High science teacher Jim McInerney said it was important for the robots to have stability, to have been well put together and to have accurate, solid, attachment points for their sensors.

"From an engineering point, that's what we look for: a stable robot that will always perform in the same way every time you run it," he said.

Southern Cross University civil engineering course co-ordinator Dr Neal Lake said these sorts of robotics workshops could be stepping stones for students who wanted to pursue careers in engineering or computer programming.

"I think it's an amazing opportunity to learn the basics of computer programming and to start getting excited about engineering and looking at potential options for their future," he said. "For us, this is a big deal because we start mechanical engineering next year and this is inspiring students to get interested in things that relate to those sorts of disciplines."

Dr Lake said the student who won the Northern Rivers regional challenge had the opportunity to go on and compete at a state level.

The workshop and challenge attracted about 40 years 7, 8 and 9 students from three local high schools - Lismore High, Woodenbong Central and Kadina High.

 

THE CHALLENGE

Robots competed by following a winding black line on a series of tiles to a designated green "chemical spill" rescue area.

While the clock was ticking, the robots had to find a shiny silver cylinder "the victim" and push it out of the chemical spill to safety.

Points were awarded for staying on the black line, navigating back to the course if it got off track, how well it "saved the victim" and how quickly it completed the whole course.



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