Winning robots ‘like voodoo’

Robot Girls: (L to R) Reed McHugh, Jessika Sanders, Lucy Eyre-Walker and Kate Brown with their winning robot.

An award-winning robot programmed by Selwyn House School pupils has been described by their teacher as moving like it’s possessed by “voodoo” magic.

Year 8 pupils Reed McHugh, Jessika Sanders, Kate Brown and Lucy Eyre-Walker, all 12-years-old, won the senior rescue division of the Regional Robocup Competition last week.

The competition was judged on each robots ability to play sports, perform theatre or rescue itself.

Three teams from the school competed. The year 6 team was second equal in the junior theatre division and the year 7 team was third in the senior theatre division.

Year 8 teacher Simon Christie, who guided the winning team, said the senior rescue division required pupils to programme a robot to follow a broken line.

“It sounds simple but it’s quite complex because they have breaks in the line so the robot has to figure out how to get around where the line isn’t there,” he said.

“In the senior division, just to make it really difficult, they put a dirty great Coke bottle in the middle of the line, so the robot has to leave the line, go around it and find the line again to carry on. It looks like voodoo when
you watch it – it’s really entertaining.”

He said his team had worked hard to ensure their robot was ready to compete.

He said it was the second time the school had entered the competition and he was “really excited” to see the pupils win.

The year 8 team will compete in the national finals on September 15 in Dunedin.