Princethorpe Robotics Team Travel To Italy To Take On First Tech Challenge

Over the February Half Term a six-strong team of young robotics engineers from Princethorpe College travelled to Italy to compete in the First Tech Relic Recovery Europe Invitational Challenge. The First Tech Challenge is an international initiative that aims to ignite an enthusiasm for science and technology and teach STEM skills to children aged 12-18 years. Competing teams had designed, built and programmed robots to work together in alliances with other teams to complete set tasks.

Princethorpe’s team, The Robot Cavaliers, comprised Year 9s Max Critchley, Archie Hancock and Stan Brocklebank and Year 7s Harry Kelly, Alexander Leret and Jake Lambert. They were one of only two teams from the UK out of twenty teams competing in the invitational competition from countries across Europe including Italy, Belgium, the Netherlands and Germany.

Before being allowed to compete the robot had to pass a series of tests and inspections. The competition was very structured and the team had to work within set parameters to undertake the challenge. This year the robot was required to pick up and stack foam cubes in a three by four pattern and to then place a relic (that looked a little like a plastic jelly baby) over the edge of the arena.

The Princethorpe team finished 9th overall, an excellent result for the young team, especially as most of the other competitors were Sixth Form students. The team were especially delighted to be awarded the Rockwell Collins Innovation Award which is given to the team for the most innovative and creative robot design solution.

ICT Teacher Jan Ryalls, who accompanied the boys, commented, “The team were really pleased with their performance, they learnt a lot and not just technical skills, the competition challenged their problem solving and team working skills. Their robot had some balance issues, which they will need to address, but they have come back having made new friends and with recognition for their inventive design and engineering work.”

Special thanks go to engineering expert Mark Brocklebank for the help, support and encouragement he provided to the team.