International Robotics Olympiad

Seven teenagers from Collyer’s Sixth Form College travelled to Washington DC in the summer to represent the United Kingdom at FIRST Global, an international robotics Olympiad.

In May, the Collyer’s Robotics team made county headlines by coming third in the UK Student Robotics competition – the best result ever seen by the college. For reaching the top three, they were given the opportunity to make a video pitch for representing the UK in the inaugural FIRST Global Robotics Challenge (FIRST = For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology). The pitch made by the Collyer’s team was successful and they soon found themselves preparing to take their new robot to the United States.

Every year the FIRST organisation will take the theme for FIRST Global from the National Academy of Engineering’s “14 Grand Challenges for Engineering in the 21 st century”. These range across a plethora of fields from making solar energy economical to preventing nuclear terror. For the inaugural year, FIRST chose the challenge of providing access to clean water.

This challenge is a big one – water use has quadrupled in the past four decades and despite this, more than a billion people do not have reliable access to fresh, drinkable water. The FIRST founder, Dean Kamen, believes “We can empty half of all the beds in all the hospitals in the world by just giving people clean water.”

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