Future robotics rivals

A ROBOTICS team from Trinity College is so keen to form a local competition that it has trained two girls’ teams to, one day, compete against it.

The Trinity BaCoNeers, a team of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) students, have achieved great success in competitive robotics, winning the ‘For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology (FIRST) Tech Challenge’ in Sydney last year.

The victory saw the BaCoNeers qualify for the FIRST Global Challenge, to be held in Houston, Texas, in April, which they are currently preparing for.

However, the BaCoNeers have, for years, had ambitions of starting up a STEM-related competition within South Australia.

As such, they invited students from Mitcham Girls High School to Gawler last week to teach them the tricks of the trade.

“We’re so lonely in South Australia; there’s just no-one else here,” BaCoNeers’ marketing division member Joel Goodwins said.

“It’s great to, eventually, have some strong competition.”

The BaCoNeers taught the Mitcham students, from years eight to 12, all the different aspects of building a robot for competition, including engineering, programming and 3D design, and explained how the robotics challenges work.

Mitcham student Sakura Zubrinich said the girls were keen to learn from the Trinity students and planned to form two teams that might, hopefully, one day, rival them.

“We’re here for our own interest because we want to learn more things and become better with digital processes,” she said.

With at least four teams needed to form a competition, the BaCoNeers are hoping another school might join the fold.

A key part of the FIRST challenges is community outreach and promotion of STEM and, through offering interactive activities at expos, such as Science Alive, Adelaide Maker Faire, and mentoring students from other schools, Team BaCoNeers estimates it has directly impacted over 50,000 students in 2016 alone.

Team member Michael Brady said mentoring the Mitcham students helped the BaCoNeers improve their community engagement and teaching abilities, while at the same time assisted in preparing for the global tournament.

“We have to focus on our competition ourselves, but then you realise that it’s just as fun helping another team learn some things in the process,” he said.

The BaCoNeers have started a GoFundme campaign to raise money for the team as it prepares to travel to the US, which can be accessed at www.gofundme.com/Trinity-BaCoNeers

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Matteo Gagliardi joined The Bunyip in August 2016 with almost two years experience in regional print media, having previously worked at a community newspaper in Swan Hill, Victoria. Covering politics, local government and crime, Matteo likes to sink his teeth into hard-hitting issues, but also enjoys spending time getting to know the Gawler community. Matteo also has a passion for science, agriculture and the environment, and has previously worked as a media officer at the Australian Science Media Centre.

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