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Robotics team prepares for international competition in Singapore

Sophia Bateman
Members of the robotics team assemble their robot for the FIRST Global Challenge Sept. 27. A selected team of 10 students will travel to Singapore Oct. 5-12 to represent Great Britain in the international competition.

Ten members from the robotics team will travel to Singapore Oct. 5-12 to compete in the FIRST Global Challenge. The challenge is an international robotics competition where each nation is represented by a single team, according to FIRST Global

To become the U.K. representatives, the team won the FIRST Tech Challenge London Regional hosted at the school March 25 and the FTC U.K. Championship hosted at the University of Cambridge June 20. 

Robotics Director Muktar Ali said the contest differentiates itself from past competitions the team has participated in because its purpose isn’t solely competition.  

“In FIRST Global, yes, you’ve all built this robot to compete in the game, but I think it’s also about networking,” Ali said. “It’s a gathering of like-minded individuals who have a passion for STEM and who have a passion for the environment.” 

Team member Rowan Hamilton (’26) said equality is an integral part of the competition because each team receives the same materials to construct their robot. 

“The idea of FIRST Global is more to have a community and get people who don’t normally have access to robotics, access to robotics,” Hamilton said. “They send a kit, and you can’t use anything outside of the kit. That’s the most important part.”

Each year, the FIRST Global Challenge is centered around a different theme related to an ongoing global issue. This year’s theme is Hydrogen Horizons, focusing on the role of hydrogen in renewable energy, according to FIRST Global. In every round, each country’s robot must extract, separate and store foam balls, which represent hydrogen and oxygen atoms to symbolize the process of energy conversion.

Made with Visme

Xavier Goff (’25) said the members of the robotics team have been meeting since the start of the school year to prepare for the trip. 

“We meet twice every week to work and figure out how we’re going to bring the robot, how we’re going to talk to the judges, who’s going to drive the robot and how we’re going to get there,” Goff said. “We’ve also done a lot of communication with teams from around the world.” 

In addition, Hamilton said the team was strategic about constructing the robot as they had no extra materials and wanted to practice maneuvering it before the competition. 

“We did prototyping with parts that weren’t from the kit because we want to keep those safe because we can’t replace them,” Hamilton said. “Now, we’re starting to assemble the final robot and we’ll do drive practice.” 

Ali said a challenge in building the robot has been limited time as the team has only had a few weeks to work together.

“As soon as we kind of formally got back into school, that’s when we were able to actually start building the robot,” Ali said. “So, it’s a mad rush to the end.” 

Furthermore, Goff said another difficulty the team has faced is assembling the robot’s individual pieces. 

“We had to build different designs for different things, so [the robot] has to put a ball into this basket and it also has to climb this structure and pick up the balls,” Goff said. “You need to have a lot of different subsystems or mechanisms.” 

Ali said although the trip’s location and timing relative to the start of the school year initially caused some hesitations, the “planning isn’t too difficult.”

“The travel aspect of organizing [these trips] is fairly straightforward,” Ali said. “It’s just chasing students to make sure that they submit forms and passport details.” 

Furthermore, Ali said he hopes the students will have the opportunity to learn about Singapore’s culture and history during the trip.

“This will be kind of their first experience of East Asia, and I think Singapore is such a great place because it’s a melting pot, so we’re going to learn about the history of Singapore,” Ali said. “Hopefully we’ll get a chance to visit some temples, mosques, see the amazing sights.”

Goff said representing the U.K. at an international event could boost the community’s engagement with the robotics program. 

“We can say in our robotics program that we’ve done this and have gone to Asia to compete representing our country, which helps in the future with our program, getting people to join the program, and even our sponsors,” Goff said. 

Hamilton said she is not only looking forward to representing team Great Britain but also to experience a variety of cultures in Singapore. 

“I think it’s a really big thing to represent the U.K., and I think also just getting to experience a place where you have someone from every country in the world is really powerful for us as well,” Hamilton said. “Experiencing that kind of diversity in that kind of global community is really interesting. Beyond the robots, it’ll be an incredible experience.” 

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About the Contributor
Sophia Bateman
Sophia Bateman, Lead Features Editor
Sophia Bateman (’25) is the Lead Features Editor for The Standard. She joined the newspaper as a staff writer in Grade 9 because she admired collaboration among the staff and wanted a platform to express her voice. Outside of journalism, Bateman leads the Student Ambassador program and enjoys computer science.

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