Goulburn High’s robotic team claims national title

FIVE Goulburn High students and their robot called ‘Frisky’ have earned a ticket to the USA after winning the VEX National Robotic Championships in Melbourne over the weekend.

Emmot Falconer, Mitchell Webster, Joseph Muscarella, William Hargan and Ashley Hind – all from Year 11 - impressed judges with their innovation, technical nous and presentation skills to come away with the prestigious title.

The competition, held at Hillcrest Christian College, attracted the best young robotic buffs throughout the nation.

But Goulburn High’s contingent of young engineers outscored their rivals to qualify for the world titles in Louisville, Kentucky next April.

One of the two accompanying teachers, Head of Science Katherine Hyland, said the difference between winning and losing was “innovative design”.

Presentation was also influential, she said, with the students the only team wearing specially-made uniforms for the Saturday tests.

“Our robot had a unique design in that the kids devised a winch system to pick up the cubes in one of the activities,” she said.

“The other teams developed systems, like scissor lifts, that they got from YouTube or elsewhere.

“Judges said our system wasn’t a copy … it was totally unique.”

The Goulburn High team also topped the scoring in their engineering book section which gave judges a diary-like insight into the development of ‘Frisky’.

“They (the judges) said we had ‘by far the most excellent’ engineering book. It was detailed and well thought out,” Mrs Hyland said.

The Goulburn High team also scored well in the interview round, with judges commenting that they were the most “prepared, professional and collegial” team they spoke to.

Mrs Hyland explained the teams all had access to the same robotic kit supplied by VEX, the world’s leading manufacturer of educational robotic systems.

The students assembled ‘Frisky’ (so named, because it can get a bit too keen sometimes) earlier this year in preparation for the Oceanic Championship held Canberra last April which they won.

The students spent countless of hours before and after school on modifications and programming work on ‘Frisky’ to ensure it would perform at optimum levels last weekend.

“The development of the robot has been quite amazing and these students have worked extremely hard while studying as well, to even make the national titles, let alone win it,” said Mrs Hyland, who travelled to Melbourne with colleague Vero Joseph.

“It’s an incredible achievement. We’re so proud.”

The students would like to thanks North Goulburn Smash Repairs and Bi-Rite for their sponsorship.