Kiwi engineers win robotics world champs
Tuesday, 5 May 2009
Rapid, racy robot manoeuvres won the day for a team of Massey University student engineers who took the top title in the university category at the Vex Robotics World Championships in Dallas, Texas.
(via Massey University) And a team of home-schooled teenagers from Auckland scooped three prizes at the championships, which drew 2000 students, teachers and coaches comprising 272 teams from 13 countries. An estimated 1300 teams competed in regional contests around the world in the months leading up to the finals.
The team, called Free Range Robotics, was trained by Massey engineering students at the Albany campus. It was awarded world champion status for programming skills as well as third place in robot skills.
The win by four Massey students and their teenage protégés is “vindication that the calibre of our engineering teaching at Massey is world-ranked,” says Professor Ian Maddox, Associate Head, School of Engineering and Advanced Technology.
Professor Maddox spearheaded the introduction of the Vex Robotics Competition here after being inspired by a similar international robotics world championship he attended in Atlanta a year ago. He says beyond the fun, drama, action and adrenalin of robotics contests is a deeper philosophy of promoting education and skills in technology, science, engineering and mathematics.
“Students get to practise skills in programming, robotics and electronics, fundamental engineering and strategy skills,” he says. “Ultimately we want to encourage more students to consider engineering as a career.”
Dr Johan Potgeiter, senior lecturer in mechatronics, engineering and industrial management at Massey, and competition convener for Vex in New Zealand, won Volunteer of the Year at the world championships.
The University aims to expand the competition to 280 schools throughout New Zealand over the next three years.