Achieving the Impossible…

If things get complicated – bring in the Dutch! That’s the battle cry of Impossible Robotics – the Dutch engineering students and mentors as they compete in this year’s international  FIRST Championship.

The annual competition, which will be held all over the world …with a Final to be held in Detroit, Michigan, is the brain child of the passion-driven organisation FIRST .  For more than 25 years FIRST  have been organising science-based games designed to encourage young people to form themselves into teams, and to nurture their interest and participation in Science and Technology.

You may remember that last year the students were tasked with building a robot to fuel-up a Flying Steam Ship? Each year students have to design, build and program robots to participate in a new game – a kind of electronic olympics – the final of which will be held this year between April 25th – 28th in the USA.

What will this year’s game be …and what will be demanded of their robot?  That remains top secret until January 6th! Tension is building!

Impossible Robotics will be wasting no time, however: As soon as the announcement is made – at about 1700 hours local time – they will spend the evening brainstorming, before commencing their building project the very next day at Doe Museum in Veendam. Families are invited to attend.

The excitement of these events is infectious: Since the end of September Impossible Robotics have attended twelve outreach events designed to spread the word to other youngsters; hone their interpersonal skills; teach programming; and to practice their skills with a series of FIRST Lego League Kickoff Events.

Competition for the World Stage is stiff: With 3600 teams worldwide, only hard work will earn Impossible Robotics a place in the finals. If they get their build right – and if they’re successful in the regional competitions held between 7th and 10th March, then they will qualify to take part in the finals held in Detroit, in April.

Victron Energy are committed to nurturing young engineering talent and we are delighted to once again be sponsoring Impossible Robotics. Only by feeding the passion of our younger generation – supporting them in their thirst for knowledge – will mankind provide itself with the scientists needed for future innovation.

And of course, when you’re in competition with 3600 other teams you need all the help you can get. Though ultimately it’s all down to team spirit: When the going gets tough – the tough get going!

Many thanks to Henk van der Wal for providing the information used in this blog.

Photographs are by Henk van der Wal and Lars Hoving.

Justin Tyers

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