It is an absolute thrill to announce that our talented team of Year 6 Honours students emerged victorious in the national 2023 Robocup Junior Spike Challenge. Their remarkable creation, the “Ant-elligence” bio-robot, wowed the judges and secured the team first place in Queensland, and won the school a Spike Prime Lego kit.
The Robocup Junior Spike Challenge is an annual robotics competition that challenges young minds to design and program using a Spike Prime base kit. This year the teams were tasked with creating bio-robots that imitate the behaviours of real creatures. Each team was required to create an autonomous robot that mimicked a chosen animal’s movements and characteristics. This year, our team of four students, Sean, Isaac, Byron, and Jacob, selected the industrious ant as their inspiration.
The “Ant-elligence” robot showcased an impressive array of features that captured the essence of an ant’s actions and behaviours. The team programmed it to walk like a real ant; it had six legs just like a real ant, with the front and back legs connected to motors to simulate an ant’s movements. They also designed mandibles that were programmed to open and close. The legs and the mandibes proved to be the most challenging part of the build, with the team experimenting with a variety of designs before settling on the final product.
Through complex coding, the “Ant-elligence” bio-robot displayed exceptional interactivity with its surroundings. It was coded to blink its eyes, giving it a lifelike quality, and it was coded to display a “spray” on the main hub, representing a defensive mechanism of a real ant. The team paid attention to every detail, programming the “Ant-elligence” robot to produce insect-like sounds. The buzzing and chirping sounds created a realistic and innovative robotic ant.
One of the most impressive features of the “Ant-elligence” robot was its “visual” perception. Equipped with sensors, it could “see” objects in its path. The students coded it to respond by either running away from potential threats or engaging in an “attack” mode when it detected obstacles. This level of autonomy and decision-making resulted in a bio-robot that looked and acted like a real ant.
The journey to success wasn’t an easy one; it involved countless hours of hard work, determination, and teamwork. Sean, Isaac, Byron, and Jacob worked through lunchtimes and stayed back after school for weeks to perfect their design. They collaborated, problem-solved, and persisted through challenges, and their dedication paid off gloriously when the team was announced as the Queensland champion at the virtual Robocup Junior Spike Challenge awards.
The success of the Robocup team not only brings honour to our school but also demonstrates the incredible work ethic of our students and showcases the value of STEM education. Congratulations to Sean, Isaac, Byron, and Jacob for their outstanding performance at the 2023 Robocup Junior Spike Challenge. May their success inspire others to explore the fascinating world of robotics and technology.
Jasmine Bautista, Honours Program Teacher