Liam Lord, Mackenzie Plath, Robert Morris and Jimmy Staats attend a workshop for the FIRST Robotics Competition.
Liam Lord, Mackenzie Plath, Robert Morris and Jimmy Staats attend a workshop for the FIRST Robotics Competition. Brenda Strong

Students tune up their tech skills for robotics challenge

STUDENTS are taking their love of robots to a new competitive level in Gladstone.

The teams of students from Toolooa, Tannum Sands, Biloela and Moura high schools hope to make their robots move swiftly around a course gathering points as they go.

Before a November competition they first have to learn how to build the robots and program them; a task which began on Wednesday at CQ University.

The students teamed up with Bechtel engineers to learn the basics.

APLNG civil engineer Daniel Stitt volunteered his time to help the students in what he said was a practical challenge that encouraged the students to work together and problem solve.

"It's exactly what we do on the job (on Curtis Island)," he said.

Scott McLachlan, of Bechtel's Brisbane office, said the challenge would see each group of students designing and programming their robots to move 50mm cubes around an obstacle course.

"But they also have to come up with a strategy including a fundraising plan, design booklet and a presentation on how they will reach their end product," he said.

Bechtel is sponsoring the international FIRST Robotics Competition, which engages young people in mentor-based efforts to build science, technology, engineering, maths and leadership skills.

Student teams are given a standard set of parts, but are encouraged to buy or make specialised parts as long as they conform to FIRST safety rules.

A state competition will follow later this year.



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