FIRST Global Challenge Results

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  Last updated September 21, 2017 at 3:47 pm

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Five boys from South Australia and their teacher are representing the entire continent of Oceania in a global robotics competition. Here are the final results, written by the team themselves. Read their article from day 1 here




Team Oceania (L-R): Sue O’Malley, Michael Brady, Luke Voight, one of the judges, Sam Moloney, Nathan Axford, Front: Bowen Hawkey

We were up early and joined the stream of students walking to Constitution Hall, right opposite the White House. This beautiful, imposing building would become our focus for the next three days. Each team is given a space, called the pits, to work on our robots, demonstrate our culture and celebrate our journey to Washington DC. We were located downstairs, in front of the technical support booth, so it was loud and crowded, but it was a great location for meeting all the teams, and there sure were a lot of them! With 158 countries competing, it truly is the robotic Olympics. To start with we were busy unpacking and reassembling our robot, Kanaloa. Luckily it appeared he survived the journey physically really well, however he seemed had developed a random disconnection error! We tried everything we could think of, replaced every part and still he turned off, then on every 4 seconds. We missed our first practice match and it was starting to look a bit grim, when the problem disappeared. It must have been jet lag!


We raced through inspection and made our second practice match, and did very well. Kanaloa was attracting a lot of attention and our time was split between explaining all his components to other teams and working as a ‘flying squad’, providing technical support to other teams. We were particularly glad to see the Team Vanuatu robot in person, after so many Skype sessions. Somehow, we also fit in judging and our judge, was a Judge, a real one! They were great fun and helped us settle in. There was great camaraderie with the other teams and we really enjoyed working in alliances on the field. Because we knew language could be an issue when discussing strategy, we designed and printed scale model robots and a field for our meetings. They worked really well, and our alliances performed to plan. It is an incredible feeling to work with two other nations to solve problems and our communication skills have really benefited.


Our mentors were busy too, with interviews and helping to give our gift bags. The globe beach balls we had printed with “we are all Team FIRST Global” were really popular, everyone was racing around getting them signed. It is kind of great to think that they will be hanging in classrooms around the world!


Our next task was preparing for the Opening Ceremony and this is when we realised the immensity of this event and what it hopes to achieve. There is no way to describe the feeling of carrying your flag into a stadium and standing shoulder to shoulder with peers from almost every nation on earth. It is something we will never forget. We were charged with changing the world, and at that moment, we knew we could.


At the end of Day 1 of competition, our robot, Kanaloa was in 122nd place, with a 1-2 win loss record, not the start we wanted but he was running well, and we were scoring the majority of points in our alliances. The robots game, H2O Flow, is played with alliances of three teams each facing off on a 5.5m x 4m field. The alliances work together to score points by collecting and sorting balls representing clean water, which is moved to a reservoir, and contaminated water, which needs to be moved to the laboratory. The alliances are selected randomly, and a strong team can be paired with partners from developing teams. You really have to work on strategy to ensure every robot in your alliance can contribute to the best of their ability.


Day 2 arrived, and we were eager to start our match. Our family and friends were going to be Skyped onto the big screen and we would be playing with Mexico and Nepal, strong partners. The match started and we quickly filled our hopper with blue and orange balls. With a race up the bridge we deposited 9 orange balls into the lab and then ran across the river bank to add over 20 blue balls to the reservoir. Mexico and Nepal were busy too, and all three robots managed to hang at the end of the match, for a 60 point bonus. The final score: 155 – 84, a new match record.


We won our next two matches comfortably and moved into the top 20, still retaining the match record. Kanaloa had certainly proved that he was a great robot! Between matches, we continued to support other teams and make new friends. The judges continued to visit, a really good sign, and by our fifth formal interview, we realised they thought our robot was pretty special too.


The final matches were played and the stadium was set for the closing ceremony. We were asked to line up at the front and our excitement grew, the organisers had also brought our coach, Mrs O’Malley to the front, so we knew we had a strong chance at a medal.


The Albert Einstein Award for FIRST Global International Excellence goes to… Team Oceania… and the stadium erupted. Standing on the podium to receive our gold medals was a moment we will never forget. We were being cheered by the entire world with flags from every nation waving madly. It was simply overwhelming.




The Einstein Award goes to the team whose robot performs the best in the competition and who best model the tenets of FIRST Global, including:



  • Must display Gracious Professionalism at all times.

  • Must have a well-designed, effective, and successful robot.

  • Must be an effective role model and have inspired others to follow in their example.

  • Must embrace diversity, strive to innovate, and dare to push boundaries.

  • Must build bridges with fellow teams from across the world.

  • Must help fellow teams when they encounter problems.


We were Global Champions, but the awards did not end there. Mrs O’Malley was honoured with the Francisco Jose de Caldas Award for Sustainable Excellence for all her work to help the organisers of FIRST Global. In particular, setting up the FIRST Global Translation Corps, finding Team Vanuatu and helping to develop the Challenge into an International Celebration.


Dean Kamen and FIRST Global charged us to be a part of world change and we are proud and humbled to take up that challenge. We will continue to develop our engineering and problem solving skills, but more importantly we will continue to work with the teams from all over the world, together we will solve the problems facing our world. We have learnt we can make a difference, and we will.


Images supplied by Team Oceania.


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About the Author

Hilary Jones
Hilary is the Contributing Editor for Education at Australia's Science Channel and the Education Specialist. She has a wide ranging background in a variety of Educational settings both in Australia and the UK, and a deep love for biology, Star Wars and ultra dark chocolate. Not necessarily together - although creating an accurate X-Wing out of 90% cocoa solids chocolate would be a dream come true (please send the plans if you have them).

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