Girls-only RoboCats team win at FIRST Robotics Competition

Thursday 30 March 2017

Three girls building a robot

The RoboCats team travelled to Sydney Olympic Park to compete in the South Pacific Regional.

In summary

  • The RoboCats team is made up of 17 girls from Melbourne high schools
  • They finished the South Pacific Regional as part of the highest ranked alliance
  • The team will compete at the Championships in Houston, Texas

An all-girls team sponsored by Swinburne's Innovation Precinct has won the South Pacific Regional of the FIRST Robotics Competition.

The RoboCats are made up of 17 girls from Melbourne high schools aged 14–18 based at Swinburne’s Factory of the Future

The RoboCats finished the competition as a part of the top ranked alliance and have been invited to compete in the championships in Houston, Texas.

A group shot of the 2017 Robocats in the ATC

The team was led by Dr Therese Keane, Deputy Chair of Education at Swinburne, and Swinburne alumnus Milorad Cerovac.

“I am very proud of the girls and their achievement this year, and the effort they have put into the build sessions during their school holidays and weekends,” Dr Keane says.

The team had six weeks to to design, build, program and drive a robot, according to this year’s theme, Steamworks. The robot had to deliver plastic balls and gears to prepare an airship for launch. 

“It was a rewarding experience for the girls, their parents, mentors, Swinburne staff and alumni,” Dr Keane says.

“It will be a good experience for the girls to go to the championships and see what it is like to compete against 600 teams.”

Dr Keane was awarded the prestigious Woodie Flowers Finalist Award, which celebrates effective communication in the art and science of engineering and design.

The award recognises a mentor who has done an outstanding job of motivating and encouraging their team with the use of effective communication.

“We thank our sponsors, particularly Swinburne’s Innovation Precinct, Ford, BAE Systems, Boeing, Salesforce, Invetech and Rockwell Automation for their generous support with the RoboCats,” Dr Keane says.

The RoboCats will be competing at the championships in Houston on 19–22 April.