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Robotics Season Spin Up: Success

May 10, 2023 at 6:58 AM

With the recent rise in artificial intelligence, it’s no doubt that once cute, lovable robot WALL-E has become a more than a fictional character living in the cinematic world. Though we may not see the earth becoming a habitation for robots anytime soon, or ever, for that matter. We can see that robotics, technology and AI are becoming ingrained in the fabric of our world.

College Year 9 students Vincent Cheng and James Wang are more than mere bystanders in the changing of technological tides. Both these students recently flew to the United States, where they competed at the 2022-2023 VEX VRC World Championships, a robotics competition that brings over 70 countries together each year.

Vincent was a member of one of the two middle school teams representing New Zealand on the world stage for the VEX VRC competition. After winning the highest award – Excellence – at the VEX New Zealand Robotics Competition, his three member team consisting of two Macleans College students and himself, were rearing to go. James, though at the same club as Vincent, competed in a different league, the VEX IQ competition.

This season, teams were tasked with the game ‘Spin Up’. It’s is a head-to-head game that’s played by two Alliances made of two teams per Alliance. The aim? Gain as many points as possible in the allotted time by launching foam discs at various goals and completing predetermined bonus points tasks. After working through the summer perfecting their code, practicing manoeuvres, and studying up on the other teams, Vincent’s team Rubixcoders packed their creation and headed to Dallas to compete.

Rubixcoders performed exceptionally well in the VRC competition. They won 9 qualification rounds, and tied 1 making it through to the quarterfinals. Their alliance for the semi-finals was with Team Artemis from Shanghai, China. Unfortunately they lost a narrow match by 2 points, 156 to 158, to an alliance of two teams from California. They took home a valiant 5th place in the world.

Results aside, as a school we are incredibly proud of both Vincent and James. Their dedication to what they’re passionate about is inspiring. We watch this upcoming season with anticipation, cheering them on to bring home the gold for New Zealand.

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