Imagination Sydney Sponsors FIRST Robotics Competition Team

25 May 2018

Imagination Sydney is proud to have sponsored FIRST Robotics Competition Team 3132 “Thunder Down Under” at the 2018 World Championship.  The FIRST Championship is the premiere robotics and innovation event for school children in STEM - it is the culmination of student's years of work and dedication. With 1,400 teams competing and over 70,000 attendees from 62 counties, the event combines the smarts of a science fair with the excitement of a sporting event. 

Teams of students working alongside industry mentors have only 6 weeks to design and build a robot to complete that year’s challenge. This year, students were asked to complete the FIRST “Power Up” challenge by building robots alongside professional mentors.  For more information on the game, please view the game description video here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HZbdwYiCY74. The teams operate as small businesses with fundraising, marketing, and technical divisions.

Marion Baillat, Experience Platforms (Australia), has been mentoring Team 3132, The Thunder Down Under, from Macquarie University in Sydney, helping the kids with their business plans and overall game strategies. Working with Marion, the team created a leveraged a partnership with leading Augmented Reality Company Blippar to add some magic and fun into their printed materials for judges and fellow participants.

This season the team was recognised with the Gracious Professionalism, Entrepreneurship, and Engineering Inspiration awards at the regional level in recognition of their extensive work to create and maintain a self-sustaining business model. The team was also recognised at the World Championships with the Gracious Professionalism award for their 24/7 call centre to support teams around the world.

“Mentoring a bunch a geniuses that want to change the world and actually are doing something about it is just addictive. We met every Tuesday night at the university and brainstormed about big ideas. We are learning so much from each other…. The kids creativity, passion, commitment and entrepreneur mindset is unique. They’re smashing through it”   - Marion said 

As the 2017 World Champions, Team 3132 had the privilege of being inducted into the FIRST Hall of Fame at this year’s championship, including a space to talk to event participants about the team’s journey to the Hall of Fame. As the only team outside North America and youngest team to be inducted, Team 3132 set out to make the space unique have a unique with Aussie flare and creative spirit.

Working with Imagination (Marion and Michal Moczynski, Senior Creative Developer, Australia), the team transformed their space into a Virtual Reality experience.  Michal worked with the team to create a HoloLens application to showcase their theme of #MakeYourJourneyCount. 

"I was very lucky to meet Team 3132 and it was the most inspiring thing that happened to me for a long time. They are a group of the smartest young people you can possibly imagine and I was absolutely stunned seeing what they do and how good they are. It's a great feeling to see a new generation of the best specialist growing and doing such amazing things. Go Team 3132!" Michal said.

To this end, the app showcased the team’s four leading programs:

  • FIRST Ladies: A series of networking events for women in FIRST.  The program has enabled formerly isolated girls to become leaders on teams that are now approaching 50% female.
  • Robots around the World: The team’s efforts to start more FIRST teams in previously underserved communities from Australia’s outback to the Navajo Nation of America.
  • Mentors without Borders: Through Mentors without Borders, the team has travelled enough to circle the globe ten times bringing their experiences to 5 continents.
  • RoboCamps: The team’s self-sustaining business that they have successfully franchised to help over a dozen teams become sustainable.

3132 student Hayley said: “working with Marion and Michal was a dream come true, we were able to take the space and create an exciting experience for other teams to enjoy.”

Team 3132 mentor Sarah Heimlich said “it was incredible to see event participants engage with the HoloLens experience, it was a huge draw and allowed the students to get their message to a much wider audience.”

After participants completed the HoloLens experience, they were asked how they would #MakeYourJourneyCount.  Sarah commented, “seeing all the ways people wanted to make a difference in their communities was heart-warming, it inspired us! We can’t thank Imagination enough for their help and expertise in bringing our journey to life.”

FIRST Robotics Competition Team 3132