Robots Reward Resilience at York Region RoboCup Junior Open

Since 2011, St. Andrew’s College has been home to the York Region RoboCup Junior Open. This year, six schools registered 30 teams that participated in one of the Lightweight Soccer, the Rescue Line Challenge or the Rescue Maze Challenge. All of the challenges highlight students’ mechanical, electrical, and software engineering skills. The students must design and build their autonomous robot. The robots must think for themselves throughout the competition. It was another phenomenal display of STEM and what the future will hold.
The Soccer Challenge
The goal of the international competition is to have soccer robots compete against people by the year 2050. The boys’ autonomous robots certainly fueled that speculation. Our veteran team of Yuan Y., Matteo C., John Q., and Josh W. were the team to beat. They finished first a few days earlier in the Montreal competition and were ready to defend their first-place ranking. Three members of the team had also represented Canada last summer in Bordeaux, France, at the World Championships and learned quite a bit. The most notable character trait they all share is resilience. The competition at Worlds was incredible, and the team used all that inside knowledge to fuel their work on their current robot and make it world-class. The result saw them repeat their dominance from Montreal and finish first at the York Region Open.
The Rescue Challenge
Several teams found their way through our Rescue Maze challenge. The team of William E., Beric D., Lucas C., and Tristan Z. had a robot that could detect distance, orient itself, complete ninety-degree turns, navigate through a maze, and identify colours and letters of the alphabet. Veterans William E. and Beric D. used their experience from last year’s World Championships to fuel their efforts. The guest judge, who had competed in international RoboCup competitions when he was younger, praised their robot as impressive, saying the kids should be proud. He specifically highlighted their algorithm as exceptional, noting that their winning score was nearly three times higher than the second-place finishers. We also had the newcomer team of Harry W. and Ross K., who competed with a hybrid Lego Spike robot in our Rescue Line competition. They earned a first-place medal at our York Region Open and a third-place finish in Montreal.
Most notable was the resilience these boys demonstrated. Parents witnessed the weeks and months their sons worked on these robots. The veteran team members were brainstorming designs on the plane ride home from France last summer. Things broke, things failed, and there were several new beginnings, but all the while, these students kept trying. They even helped their competition by 3D-printing a part that broke on a competitor’s robot. Amazing accomplishment, and congratulations to all participants.
Here are the individual results. 
Rescue Line 
1st - Not / Applicable (Harry W., Ross K.)
2nd - WALL-E (Nico P., Tobi D.)
3rd - Masterbuilder (Tristan A., Suleiman A., Zibo C.)
Rescue Maze
1st - The Righteous Hand of the Father (William E., Beric D., Lucas C., Tristan Z.)
3rd - . (William P., Xavier B.)
Soccer Lightweight
1st - Truncated Icosahedrons (Yuan Y., Matteo C., John Q., Josh W.)
3rd -  Calma (Reza Z., Kishon K.)
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