Robotics Team Travels to Poland

Annika Dean, News Writer

Courtesy of Hans Mueller

Courtesy of Hans Mueller

Eagan’s FIRST Robotics Competition team 2220, Blue Twilight, recently returned from a trip to Europe. This was the first trip taken by their new organization Robots Without Borders.

Their stay spanned from October 15th to October 25th, with the mentors and students spending six days in Poland and three days in Germany. One of Blue Twilight’s key accomplishments was establishing four new Lego League teams.

Eagan students also had the opportunity to work with FRC team 5883, the Spice Gears, from Kraśnik, Poland. Spice Gears’s robot, in addition to team 2220’s small demo robot, was used in a demonstration at a Warsaw school for students interested in robotics. Other demonstrations took place in Lublin, Warsaw, Wroclaw, and Düsseldorf. Because 3M was the main sponsor of the trip, visits were made to 3M facilities in Düsseldorf and Wroclaw.

Courtesy of Hans Mueller

Courtesy of Hans Mueller

The group was well received by those they reached out to. “I didn’t expect there to be such a warm response to robotics,” Arunima Bhattacharya, a control lead on the team, explains. “When we were talking with the government officials, they were incredibly excited to see something like robotics available for the kids.”

Most of the individuals they encountered had never seen FRC robots built and designed by students. Some of the younger students they presented to eagerly asked questions about how they could get involved and where to find resources. Hans Mueller, another student lead on the team clarifies, “It helped create a better want and desire for STEM education through FIRST robotics.”

Courtesy of Hans Mueller

Courtesy of Hans Mueller

The trip is the first of many Robots Without Borders plans. Mueller describes, “The general goal is basically to do world-scale of what we did in those countries.”

Europe was the first focus because it is one of the most underdeveloped continents in the context of FIRST Robotics programs. There are over 200 FRC teams in the state of Minnesota alone, while in Poland there is only one FRC team in the entire country.

Courtesy of Hans Mueller

Courtesy of Hans Mueller

Robots Without Borders is currently planning a trip in December to meet with United Nations officials. Eagan students aim to discuss the worldwide spread of STEM programs. Switzerland is another projected destination for the organization next year. Robots Without Borders intends to continue traveling annually as a means to introduce robotics around the globe.