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Robots in the ring for campus challenge

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Students will test their skills in applied robotics during a competition taking place at the University of Tasmania in Burnie tomorrow (Wednesday, 3 April 2019).

The SumoBot Battle will bring together teams from North-West high schools who have engineered EV3 robots to engage in combat similar to sumo wrestling.

In a series of rounds, robots will be placed inside a circular ring, programmed to detect their opponent and push it outside the boundary.

The top two teams will meet in a finale to determine the overall winner.

Event coordinator and Science and Digital Technology teacher at Smithton High School Sarah Prior said the challenge had a number of objectives.

“The SumoBot Battle is an experimental project which we hope leads to a long-term, sustainable annual robotics competition that is accessible to regional schools in Tasmania’s West and North-West,” Ms Prior said.

“Another objective of the challenge is to develop basic knowledge in the building and programming of EV3 robots in both students and teachers.

“Last year’s (2018) event was a huge success, with a total of nine teams competing. This year (2019) has attracted even more participants, and there could be up to 22 teams and 50 students overall competing on the day,” Sarah said.

“It would be fantastic to grow robotics in this region so that one day there are enough schools to run a North-West Regional RoboCup event sponsored by Robotics Tasmania.”

This is the second year the competition has taken place at the Cradle Coast campus, following a successful pilot of the initiative in 2018.

Local industry advocates will play a vital role on the day by helping coordinate each round, conduct student interviews and speak about opportunities in STEM.

One of them is James Riggall, Bitlink founder and a representative from the University’s Community, Partnerships and Regional Development portfolio.

“The competition is helping engage students in the disciplines of STEM while getting them thinking about higher education by immersing them in a university setting,” Mr Riggall said.

“We know that the employment landscape is changing, so it is important to help equip students with technical skills that will match the jobs of the future.”

2019’s competing schools are Smithton High, Burnie High and Parklands High.

Source: UTAS

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