Robots power into the future
THE ROBOTS are here to stay and growing numbers of our children want to learn more about them.
Nearly 200 students gathered at Clinton Primary School yesterday for the inter-school Robotics Competition and the clear winners were the students themselves.
With minimal supervision they had built, then programmed their mechanical minions to drive along a circuit to a cup.
Teacher Tracey Dunnett said the exercise had a real life application.
"On a larger scale they could have programmed a self driving loader to navigate to a coal silo and back again," she said.
Nearby a group of students were watching their robot vehicle steer itself along a course and made minor adjustments on their laptop as it travelled across the floor.
Ms Dunnett said interest in the competition had really taken off in the past couple of years.
"Apart from teaching them how to use the technology, today's competition helps them focus on working together to solve problems," she said.
Almost on cue the robot veered off course and the students quickly made further adjustments then cheered as it navigated back onto the path.
MP Glenn Butcher was on hand to award prizes and what he saw impressed him.
The advancements and interest we've seen in STEM in the past 12 - 18 months has been amazing.
The future is in the hands of this generation, and these kids are right at the heart of it," he said.
Engineers from local industries were also on hand assist and advise the groups of students.
Boyne Island student, Thomas Smith, has been in his school's robotics club for 4 years and enjoys learning coding and mentoring other students.
"I hope to be a robotics engineer when I leave school and live and work in Gladstone," he said.
Thomas' principal, Michael Hurst, said he could see robotics as part of his schools' future technology curriculum.
He pointed out an equal number of girls and boys had attended the event.
"Robotics is certainly popular," he said.