Seminar: James Ward & the DropBears, Aug 22nd 2019

When: Thursday, Aug 22nd 2019, 1p
Where: Rose St Building Seminar Area

Title: How Teenagers Built a Robot in Six Weeks

Abstract: The Drop Bears is a team of high school students and adult mentors that compete in the international FIRST Robotics Competition. The Drop Bears have been hosted by the ACFR for the past six years. At the beginning of each year, teams around the world are given the rules of a new game and have six weeks to build a robot from scratch. Two of the students from the team will talk about the technical challenges they faced in this years game, how they solved them, and what went wrong along the way (a lot!!). Ultimately the robot won the Autonomous Award in the Sydney competition, and made it to the semi-finals in Calgary, Canada.

Bios: James Ward is a Research Fellow at the ACFR. He has been the Head Mentor for the Drop Bears since the team moved to the ACFR in 2013. Despite being nicknamed by the team “The Grumpy Old One” he has never had more fun than his time with The Drop Bears. Nicky Vera is in Year 11 at Sydney Secondary College, Blackwattle Bay Campus. Nicky has been with The Drop Bears for 2 years, focusing mainly on mechanical design and fabrication. He has been the team lead on a number of mechanisms on the team’s robots. In 2019 he was also a member of the Drive Team – the students operating the robot in the high pressure environment of the matches. If he could be any animal, he would choose to be an otter. Sam Richards is in Year 10 at The Shore School. He has also been with the team for 2 years. Spending his time on software and controls, he was the lead on the computer vision system for the 2019 robot. His favourite colour is puce, and he loves Siamese fighting fish.


Australian Centre for Robotics