First Tech Challenge 2020: Pune’s student team to represent India at premier robotics championship in US

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Team Horcruxes will represent India at the FIRST World Championship in Detroit in April. (Express photo)

A student team from the city will represent India at a robotics contest of international repute in the US after it won the recently held FIRST Tech Challenge (FTC) robot competition.

The team Horcruxes from Robominds, Pune, won the championship and will be proceeding to represent India at the FIRST World Championship in Detroit, USA, in April 2020.

Team Horcruxes comprises Aditi Sawant (Vibgyor High School), Dhruv Sawant (Vibgyor High School), Yuvaan Patwardhan (Seva Sadan School), Sifar Jirgale (DLRC), Ahan Yadwad (DLRC), Shaashvat Sekhar (DLRC), Aditya Melinkeri (DLRC), Mihir Melinkeri (Loyola High School), Vedant Kaulgud (DLRC), Varad Kulkarni (New India School), Kanish Thiagarajan (Suryadatta College), and Piyush Kolhatkar (VIT Engineering College).

The FTC is an international competition, where teams from around the globe are challenged to design, build, programme, and operate robots to compete head-to-head, in an alliance format. Through participation, students develop hands-on skills in Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics, and Design (STEM-D), and practise engineering principles, whilst realising the value of hard work, innovation, and team work. The robots used in the competition are designed and fabricated from the ground-up by a team of 12 students, ranging in age from 11 to 18.

The team is also expected to raise funds, design and market their team brand, and conduct community outreach. Most of the team members have participated in FIRST and World Robot Olympiad (WRO) competitions in earlier years, through Robominds, and represented India at several international competitions.

However, this is the first year of entry for Horcruxes and Robominds in the FTC. Team Horcruxes competed against 46 teams from across India, over a three-day period, to win the ‘Champion’ status by consistently beating opposing alliances and setting new highs whilst demonstrating their excellence in teamwork and technological superiority with their robot, ‘Robbie’.

Team Horcruxes were awarded the coveted ‘Think Award’ for removing obstacles through creative thinking, and the ‘Alliance Award’, which resulted in the team earning the opportunity to represent India at the FIRST World Championship, where they will compete against more than 100 teams from over 70 countries.