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Students compete at world robotics contest

An alliance of three teams won the first prize at the Shenzhen Regional Contest of the 2017 FIRST Robotics Competition (FRC), which was held at the sports center of Shenzhen University Town over the weekend.

The three teams: Griffins of American School in London, Barker Redbacks of Innovation First International and Barker College in Australia and The Blazer of Shanghai Fengxian Shuguang Middle School will attend the final competition to be held in St. Louis,the United States this April.

The stadium was filled with a cheerful, intensive yet breathtaking atmosphere as 38 Chinese teams and three foreign teams geared up to cooperate and compete in the final.

The FRC, the most influential robotics competition among international high schools, attracts around 4,000 teams from around the world each year.

Under the theme of STEAMWORKS this year, the organizer invited teams to use steam power to prepare for a long distance race.

Each three-team alliance, which was randomly selected, needed to prepare to take flight in three stages in a 2 minutes and 30 seconds countdown by building steam pressure through collecting fuel, getting Rotors Robots to retrieve and deliver gears to the pilot and preparing for flight by climbing aboard the airship through a rope, according to the organizer, China Urban Youth Robotics Alliance.

Chen Qingxuan is a junior high school student from Hongling High School in Futian District and a member of Atom Storm team 6766. The team was set up six months ago and the six members had spent their weekends working late into night to prepare for the competition.

In the competition, Chen and his team ranked 15th.

“The result is satisfactory when comparing us with those larger and more experienced teams. For us, it is a big challenge as we had to spend two months becoming familiar with the 100-page rulebook and requirements, which were written in English before we started our project,” Chen said.

“In the past months, we have completed an impossible mission with endless obstacles from learning rules, buying materials, assembling robots, testing, fundraising and finally competing in the contest,” said Chen.

Compared with foreign teams, most of the Chinese teams do not have much related experience with some even rushing to design and build a robot in just a few weeks.

“For next year, we will have more hands and will communicate more with experienced teams. We should have an independent team for public relations. That will be helpful for our growth,” Chen, who is also responsible for publicity, said.

Chen Shangbao, deputy chief with Yantian District Education and Research Center, had observed the two-day contest from the beginning to the end. He thinks the FRC is a good platform for comprehensive learning.

“The competition encourages students to get involved in research in science, technology, engineering and mathematics as robotics requires a wide range of knowledge in mechanical, electrical, pneumatic and programing skills,” said Chen. The competition also requires good English skills, team spirit among members and communication and coordination with other teams.

Source: Shenzhen Daily