Students set to do battle with robots

02:33, Apr 02 2009
CONCENTRATION: Darren Webster, 16, from Takapuna Grammar fine tunes his group’s robot.

Tech-savvy homeschooled students are preparing to head to the world robotics championships in Dallas, Texas, next month after winning the New Zealand competition.

The group of 17 pupils, of which more than half are from the Shore, battled it out against 17 other schools before forming an alliance with Avondale College.

The two schools beat Mt Albert Grammar 52-26 and will both attend the American event.

Westlake Girls High School students also qualified for Dallas but are reliant on funding to go.

The competition involves the design, construction and programming of remote-controlled robots to take part in a game where cubes have to be placed into "goals".

Glenfield’s Rhiannon Waller, 17, says their robot has an autoloader for the cubes, tank tracks and a high crane to reach the goals.

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The self-proclaimed "underdogs" have been given six tickets to the American competition, which they have been told they have a good chance of winning.

Ethan Harrold, 13, from Albany, will be the driver, Max Waller from Glenfield will coach the team and Patrick Walmsley from Glenfield is the leader and in charge of repairs.

The school is hoping to raise enough money to take four more people.

Started in the US, robotics has been gathering momentum in New Zealand since being launched by Massey University’s School of Engineering and Advanced Technology at Albany last year.

The international championship runs from April 30 to May 2.

It is expected to draw 2000 students comprising 200 teams from 13 countries.

North Shore Times