Media Release Thursday, August 4, 2005 ‘ROBOCUP’ STUDENT ROBOTICS COMPETITION Student-built robots will dance to music, rescue stricken creatures from “quicksand” and shoot for soccer goals tomorrow in the State finals of the RoboCup robotics competition. South Australian school students will use cutting edge technology as they compete for the chance to represent the State in the national finals, and the possibility of competing in International RoboCUP Junior next year. About 50 teams have registered for the State RoboCup Junior Robotic Competition, to be held from 9:45am tomorrow at the Education Development Centre. Teams will battle it out in the soccer, dance and rescue events, using computers to program, fine-tune, and test their robots. South Australian RoboCup committee chairman Steve O’Connor says students work in teams with a strong emphasis on collaboration, problem solving and working independently without direct assistance from their teachers. “Last year’s event attracted 180 primary and secondary students from public and private schools generating an atmosphere of enthusiasm, innovation and industry rarely seen in the classroom,” Mr O’Connor says. The State RoboCup Junior competition helps students develop advanced skills for the national event to be held at the University of New South Wales in Sydney on September 3 and 4. Between 700 and 800 students from Australia and overseas are expected to compete in Sydney. RoboCup Junior is an Australian initiative in robotics education, featuring events suitable for boys and girls from ages 8 to 18. School-based teams build and program robots and compete with other school teams in various challenge activities. Mr O’Connor says RoboCup Junior can be taught as part of the school curriculum with students given the opportunity to extend their science and technology skills, explore leading edge information technology, and apply their knowledge in competition with peers. RoboCup helps students see robotics as a growth area offering future employment opportunities. “Many students who competed in the RoboCup World Championships last year have chosen to pursue robotics-based studies at tertiary level,” Mr O’Connor says. Students compete in three challenges: Robotic Dance: RoboCup Dance is the simplest entry level for the competition, with primary and high school divisions. The task is to design a robot or team of robots to dance to music, entertain, delight and thrill the audience. Assessment includes the team logo design, the performance, programming and an interview. Students are encouraged to give their robots personality. Rescue: The Rescue competition represents the next level of programming difficulty because it involves the use of light sensors. Two competing robots race on separate paths following a black line to a designated rescue area. The robots then search for a stricken "Yowie" and push it safely out of the "quicksand". Robots must complete the rescue in the shortest time. Soccer: RoboCup Soccer involves students competing with a team of two robots. The robots can be made from Lego or other materials. Students often build their own circuits and sensors as well as programming the processors. The robots have a light sensor that searches for a small soccer ball emitting infra red light. Students may elect to have a goalie or two strikers in their team. The competition is in two 10-minute halves. Media contact: Steve O’Connor, Technology School of the Future consultant and South Australian RoboCup committee chairman. Ph: (08) 8463 5999, Mobile: 0402 573 389, email: firstname.lastname@example.org The competition will start from 9:45am on Friday, August 5, and consist of a series of rounds leading up to the finals of all divisions between 2pm and 3pm. RoboCup Junior will be held at The Education Development Centre, Milner Street, Hindmarsh.