Through the 2018 competition season, Barker competed in three regional events - in Sydney, China and the World Championships in Houston, Texas.
2018 Power Up
The Barker Redbacks have qualified for the World Championships every year since 2015. For three of these four years, the team has progressed to the playoff rounds, each time playing as an Alliance Captain.
Over 15,000 students, aged between 6-18, participated in the FIRST Championship which is the world’s largest celebration of science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) for students. This year’s competition, FIRST Power UP, challenged students from around the world to design a robot to pick up bright yellow power cubes and place them on a ‘Switch’ and a ‘Scale’.
Championships are highly competitive, with 400 teams randomly allocated six divisions, qualifying from approximately 4000 teams globally. This year the Redbacks qualified third in the Galileo division; the highest the team has ever qualified at Championships, and representative of the growing strength Barker is bringing to Robotics. The team made it through 114 qualification matches to secure their place in the playoffs.
This success followed the Redback’s Industrial Design Award at the Southern Cross Regional competition in Sydney in March.
Robotics Co-ordinator, Lael Grant explained, “This year, we designed a compact, modular robot which was suitable for travel, fast and efficient off and on the field. We produced a lighter robot, also keeping travel in mind, as well as a compatible system for the robot to have fast repairs between matches.
“Our efficiency extends to small details such as flipping arms and accurate intakes, saving precious seconds during a match. The robot was to be small, fast and maneuverable, yet strong, robust and powerful at the same time.”
When the team first released their robot reveal video at the start of the season, it attracted over 5,000 views in the first 24 hours and over 30,000 views in the first week, highlighting the regard in which the Redbacks are held throughout the robotics world.
“To receive the Excellence in Engineering Award at the World Championships is fitting recognition for the amazing work by our dedicated students,” Lael said.
The Barker Zero Robotics team, Redshift, has been competing in an online robotics programming competition, where the robots are SPHERES that reside on board the International Space Station.
Created by MIT and the University of Sydney’s former NASA astronaut, Professor Greg Chamitoff, the competition involves over 180 teams worldwide. Sydney University provide mentors to schools who attend weekly coding and strategy sessions. Barker’s team recently competed with twenty teams from Australia and 160 international teams through several phases of competition in a simulation environment.
Zero Robotics aims to build critical engineering skills for students such as problem solving, design thought process, operations training, and team work. Teams solve a challenge involving the SPHERES that has been designed to be of scientific interest to NASA. Through a series of competitions starting virtually online and then aboard the ISS, students exercise their creative problem-solving skills and take on real world design problems.