7 March 2022

Over the last two weeks, the members of The Griffins (The Moreton Bay Colleges’ Robotics Programme) competed in the FIRST Tech Challenge (FTC) National Championship. Is has been a long journey for the students including two COVID related postponements and a change of format from in-person to remote competition.

Annually the FTC competition is launched at the beginning of September with the release of the game rules. Up until this point the teams are unaware of what the game requirements will be. Teams then must design and build their robot. The system used in FTC does not provide the students with much scaffolding, and the robot is literally programmed and constructed by the students. Students are also responsible for marketing, fundraising, and the design of the team shirt.

The first stage of the National Championships was travelling to Grace College Rothwell to access a competition rated field. Here the team ran six matches to record their score. In the first part of the match, the robot runs autonomously, with no input from the drivers. It relies on a range of sensors to identify the correct level to deposit the block, and to know where it is on the field. In the second part of the match (after the bell sound) the students drive the robot.

The next stage of the competition involved two remote interviews which happened to be held over Brisbane’s weekend of torrential downpours. Our nine students were grilled by experts in the fields of mechatronics and engineering. They did us proud in the way they explain our design and development process.

Finally, Friday saw the announcement of the results and awards.

The Griffins placed 2nd in the Think Award, which recognises the quality of the team’s documentation of their design process.  An amazing result. In the overall match points The Griffins were ranked 25th out of 50 competitors. This is on par with the last time we made nationals.

It has been a huge journey, to which the students have dedicated over 40 hours of work (including three all-day holiday sessions). They have demonstrated exceptional resilience and adaptability in overcoming numerous obstacles, including a component failure on the competition day. We are so proud of the students involved. 

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