This year, for the first time, a student team from St Joseph’s travelled to Toowoomba to take part in the Darling Downs Robocup Junior competition, held as a regional event at the Clive Berghofer Centre at USQ on Tuesday 26th July.
The Robocup Junior competition, which has run since 2000, is a competition which requires students to build and program robots with various capabilities. The St Joseph’s team chose to enter the most difficult division of the competition, designing a team of two robots to compete in a game of robotic soccer.
The team of students, despite being the youngest in the “Soccer” division of the competition, and never having competed in a Robocup competition before, made it to the Grand Final of the competition, where they defeated their more experienced competitors in a tie-breaking “golden minute” and walked away victorious as the overall winners of their division.
The five students from Year 8 - Rory McDonagh, Peter Thompson, Mel Petroccitto, James Humble and Tiana Bray - began working on an entry in the Soccer division of the competition in Term 1. Meeting weekly as a Robotics group and demonstrating skill beyond their age and experience the team built their two robots using Lego robotics kits, and programmed them to chase an infrared soccer ball. The task was complex, requiring them to design their robots to fairly tight specifications, and to employ a variety of sensors so that the robot could track and follow the ball independently.
With success and a little more experience under their belt, the team are now looking forward to refining their approach as designers and programmers, and to seeing the Robotics group continue to grow in success in future years at St Joseph’s.