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The countdown is on - 3, 2, 1 LEGO and here we are again!  It’s the beginning of September and that can mean only one thing for Team Antimatter – the New Zealand FIRST Lego League Championships!

The last of the original team members have retired, but there is plenty of young blood to keep the team going.  Ann, Jaime and Molly have been joined by Connor, Emma, Lachy and Mu-Chien to give the Animal Allies season their best shot.

We have had lots of fun researching animal issues, coming up with some innovative solutions and even holding a dog-poo party in the park!  Oh yes, and we built and programmed a robot, too!

We’re looking forward to interacting with the record number of teams attending the NZ Champs at Strathallan on September 2nd, so if you can join us, we’d love to see you.  Drop by our pit for a human-digestible dog biscuit or maybe even a kiwi chocolate if you are lucky.

It has been quite some time since Team Antimatter posted an update. Don't worry. We are not dead, we were just hibernating! 

This weekend is the New Zealand FIRST LEGO League Championships. There are 34 teams coming from around New Zealand. Team Antimatter were very slow off the mark this year. Six weeks before the event there was a scramble and it was decided that Team Antimatter should get organised and field a team.

Ethan has now retired from Team Antimatter along with Amy who is going to pursue her New Zealand Netball career (or maybe technical adviser to Team Antimatter!). 

So, the members of Team Antimatter are: Tim, Harry, Molly, Jaime and Ann.

This years theme is rubbish and recycling. FIRST LEGO League Trash Trek! Team Antimatter have been looking at better ways to dispose of food waste.

Below are some photos from our season so far.

Make sure you come to ACG Strathallan, Hayfield Way on the 3rd of September. The competition is happening all day with the robot runs happening in the afternoon.

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The New Zealand 2015 FIRST LEGO League championships

On Saturday the 5th of September ACG Strathallan hosted the 7th annual New Zealand FIRST LEGO League championship.

Due to the way the New Zealand school year runs KiwiFIRST elected to change the way the FIRST LEGO League season is run. This year was a repeat of the FLL WORLD Class so we had another chance to have a go at this challenge.

Some of Team Antimatter have moved on (to bigger things, mostly robots!) so we said farewell to James, Tonii and Amy. The rest of the team thought we needed some new recruits. So, we asked around and Molly, Ann and Jamie are our newest team members! And we must say, they are very cute and enthusiastic.

The championship was a great day as usual. There was dancing, some awesome robots and lots of cheering.

The Referees (a team not the actual referees) went to the FIRST LEGO League World Festival in St Louis this year and they had done a lot of work on their robot. It was an amazing robot and won the robot competition by more than 100 points. It was great to watch their robot at work.

Team Antimatter had Twirly Whirlys and we had a great time with our new members presenting our Buzzy Band project and running the robot.

Team Antimatter we also crowned the New Zealand champions for 2015 which was an amazing achievement. We have another trophy!

Thanks to all the teams who attended the New Zealand champs. We all had a great time. See you in 2016 for FLL Trash Trek!


The New Zealand FLL 2015 Championship is on this weekend and Team Antimatter are going to be there with Twirly Whirlys!

Come on down to ACG Strathallan at Karaka and cheer for the robots. We would love to see you there!

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As New Zealand is repeating FLL World Class this year (due to the New Zealand school year inteferring with the global FLL season) the youngest members of Team Antimatter wanted to have a go at FLL.

We would like to welcome Ann, Jaime and Molly to Team Antimatter! Good luck on Saturday. We are sure you will have a great time.


What an event! The Asia Pacific Invitational FLL (FIRST LEGO League) competition has come to end. Packing up the pit was very sad. We had a ball in Sydney. Team Antimatter didn’t pick up any awards this time.

Congratulations to all the teams who won awards. You can find the awards results here when they are published.

There were some amazing robots. Perfect scores of 858 were scored by two teams. Wow!

The friendship night was also incredible. 24 teams from around the world showed a huge variety of culture. It was a very special night to see so much talent in one place. From the drums of South Korea to the Chinese dancing to the South American teams with their dancing it was all very exciting.

Team Antimatter would like to thank Macquarie University, FIRST Australia and all the volunteers for giving up their time and making the Invitational such a great event. We hope to see you in the future!


In the 2014 season Team Antimatter achieved runner up team in the New Zealand Championship. This meant we were invited to attend the Asia Pacific open Championship in Sydney, Australia.

We have been working hard for the last couple of months getting ready for Sydney. We are even presenting a story about New Zealand at the friendship night

As usual the robot is never finished. Hopefully it will work on the day!team

The Asia Pacific Championship is held over 3 days from the 10th to the 12th of July. Macquarie University are hosting the event.

There are more than 40 teams from all over the world attending. Teams are coming from as far away as Norway, Italy, Mexico and Turkey.

It should be a great event. We even have Twirly Whirlys to give away.

If you are not doing anything this weekend and are in Sydney, come on down to Macquarie university and cheer on the teams!

Don't forget to follow us on Twitter for updates!


This weekend (28th February / 1st March) sees the New Zealand VEX Robotics championships being held at the Vodafone Events Centre.

IMG 20150214 104329The VEX Robotics Competition has more than 10,000 teams from 32 countries playing in over 750 tournaments worldwide. Each year, an exciting engineering challenge is presented in the form of a game. Students, with guidance from their teachers and mentors, build innovative robots and compete year-round in a variety of matches.

IMG 20150222 152257Teams learn valuable engineering skills, students gain life skills such as teamwork, perseverance, communication, collaboration, project management, and critical thinking.

The VEX Robotics Competition prepares students to become future innovators with 95% of participants reporting an increased interest in STEM subject areas and pursuing STEM-related careers.

Some of Team Antimatter are competing. Ethan is team 7862E and James and Tim are team 7862Z. There is also a team from ACG Strathallan (7862B.) Shaun (7862) has a robot which has to be seen!

If you are in Auckland come along to the Vodafone Events Centre in Manukau to see some serious robot action. Sunday afternoon will see the finals with division games on Saturday and Sunday mornings.

Good luck Team Antimatter!

Tomorrow Tim and James from Team Antimatter are off to a VEX scrimmage at Glenfield College. Scary! We are kind of ready.

Thanks to Jason and Ethan for the help with the robot!



What it is:

The Buzzy band is a bracelet. We made a prototype from loom bands. It contains a tiny microphone and a buzzer from an old cellphone (This is what makes your phone vibrate.)


How it Works and what it does:

You place the Band on your wrist and when you get too loud the microphone will sense this and the band will vibrate reminding you that you are being too loud.


Why the Buzzy Band is great:


The Buzzy Band is great because it helps teachers manage loud or noisy classrooms and stops them from losing their voices. Another good thing is that the teacher doesn’t have to manage the bands so it is less stress for them. Another thing is you can personalize them to your liking. (E.g. colour)


We shared our solution!


We talked to Judith Fromont about our solution, she is a teacher at St Joseph’s school. We asked her about noisy classrooms and she asked us some questions about our solution. She loved the idea of our solution.



IMG 0836Wow! What a day. It had to be takeaways for dinner as everyone was tuckered out! This year 27 teams competed in the 6th New Zealand First Lego League Championships. They came from all over New Zealand. The atmosphere was electric. The music was pounding, there was dancing and chocolate and robots.... The Referees were crowned the New Zealand Champions (well not the actual referees, there was a team named the Referees which got confusing when the MC's asked whether the Referees were ready!). They had an awesome robot and it was great to watch.

Team Antimatter were crowned runner-up Champions and had a great day. There were a bunch of Twirly Whirlys given away in the Lego build competition and chocolate.

Well done to all the teams who competed. May your robots drive straight in 2015. See you there!



On 29 of November ACG Strathallan Karaka will host the 6th Annual FIRST LEGO League New Zealand Championship.

28 teams of children from around New Zealand will compete in a LEGO Mindstorms robotics competition designed to inspire and excite students about science and technology. Each year the competition theme changes and teams must research a real world problem based on the topic. This year’s topic is “WORLD CLASS” where teams must investigate how students will learn in the future.

FIRST LEGO League (FLL) is an international program for 9 to 16 year-old children (9 to 14 in the U.S. and Canada) created in a partnership between FIRST and The LEGO Group in 1998 to get children excited about science and technology – and teach them valuable employment and life skills. Children work alongside adult mentors to design, build, and program autonomous robots and create an innovative solution to a problem as part of their research project. The competition season culminates at high-energy, sports-like tournaments. Like any other organized “sport,” teams also fundraise, create a team identity, and go on field trips.

FIRST was founded in 1989 by Dean Kamen (inventor of the Segway). The FIRST mission is to inspire young people to be science and technology leaders, by engaging them in exciting mentor-based programs that build science, engineering and technology skills, that inspire innovation, and that foster well-rounded life capabilities including self-confidence, communication, and leadership.

Venue: ACG Strathallan Hayfield Way, RD1, Papakura, Auckland
Time: Robot competition rounds from 12 to 3 pm. Open to the public at no charge.
Teams: 28 teams from around New Zealand including participants aged 9 to 16 years.

Well. It has been a while since there was any action on the website. The team has been busy once a week though. We have managed to get a solution together. We have yet to visit an expert but we have found one. There is not enough time in the week!

The robot is coming along. There are some tricky missions this year but with extra brain power this in the form of James, Amy and Harry the robot building is flying along at full speed. The robot will never be finished but that is life in FLL.

Here are some photos from today. For those that aren't scared yet there are only 6 weeks to go until the New Zealand champs. Arrgh!

Well. It all starts again! The 2014 season is upon us. Team Antimatter has doubled in size this year and we welcome James, Amy and Harry to the team.

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As we didn't have our challenge set for our first meeting we had a paper boat competition. It was very intense and the winning team was the Red Alliance (actually it was a draw but Blue Alliance got extra points for thinking outside the box!)

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We also did some good work on our project and even got a research question sorted! Next up. Build the challenge set!

I have blogged before about the FIRST family of robotics program for students.

The New Zealand Annual FTC competition is being held on Saturday at ACG Strathallan. The finals happen between 1 pm and 3 pm although the competition will be running all day. Entry is free so come along and see some cool robots competing.

FTC (First Tech Challenge) is a robotics program for years 7 to 12 and bridges the gap between First Lego League using lego robots and FRC with big robots.

FTC uses metal components and focuses on engineering and programming skills.

Students who participate in the program:

  • Design, build, and program robots
  • Apply real-world math and science concepts
  • Develop problem-solving, organizational, and team-building skills
  • Compete and cooperate in alliances and tournaments
  • Compete for a spot in the World Championship



Before we left for the World Festival in St Louis, Team Antimatter thought it would be cool to put a GoPro on Eruptor.

So, after some experimenting we managed to get it going. Here is the result! In hindsight we should have shot behind the robot too as stuff happens behind the robot (such as picking up the truck and knocking over the building) but it was a cool result.

Sorry about the lighting. It was dark outside so lighting wasn't the best. Thanks to Darryn for lending us the GoPro!

Robofest is a robot competition for Christchurch school children in years 5 to 8.

It is a one day competition held at Russley School.

As a more casual competition than First Lego League (which can be pretty full on!)  it is a great opportunity for kids new to robotics to come along and get involved.

Teams are 2 to 4 members and all you need is an NXT robot. A standard robot build will do the trick: http://www.nxtprograms.com/castor_bot/steps.html

Team Antimatter will be there with their World Festival robot and will be giving demos of the 2013 FLL Natures Fury challenge. We may even have some Twirly Whirlys to give away.

So! Grab a robot and some keen kids and we will see you there!

More info can be found here: http://robofest.weebly.com/


Hello robot fans. Here is the official Wrap Video for the 2014 FIRST St Louis event. No sign of Team Antimatter in the video. We can't have done enough dancing!


Here are some pics of Day 1 and 2 from the World Festival. The selection is a bit thin as there are cameras scattered all over the place. More photos to follow!


First festival is underway. Chaos reigns. Here is pit set up underway!

We forgot to take a photo at the end of the day with the pits all set up.

Off to opening ceremony shortly!

Well. We made it. Some of the team took 31 hours as Ethan wanted to visit Sydney airport on the way. For the rest of the team it took 19 hours.


Yesterday we visited the St Louis Arch. Wow! It was amazing. We still have a couple of days before the real competiton begins. Bring it on!


Team Antimatter.

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Here is our schedule for the World Festival:


    St Louis Time NZ Time NZ Date
11:00 am - Project - Room 106   11:00 04:00 25th April
11:20 am - Robot - Room 106   11:20 04:20 25th April
11:40 am - Core Values - Room 106   11:40 04:40 25th April
Practice Rounds        
1:30 pm - Table 2 vs Team M - California   13:30 06:30 25th April
2:55 pm - Table 5 vs GRS - Alaska   14:55 07:55 25th April
Robot Matches        
11:40 am - Table 4 vs Hawkbotics -Tennessee   11:40 04:40 26th April
1:55 pm - Table 7 vs IKnowMyToys - Pakistan   13:55 06:55 26th April
3:25 pm - Table 5 vs Veni Vivi Duci - Blue - Wyoming   15:25 08:25 26th April

Footage should be live here:


on the FLL/Einstein stream. The judging will probably not be streamed but the robot games should be.

From Team Antimatter who are about to get on a plane!






Team Antimatter have Twirly Whirlys!

We have some awesome Team Antimatter twirly whirlys to give away at the World Festival.

Track us down in the pits to secure yours!

Keep an eye out on the website for the secret password!

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This BLOG post was posted on Geekzone by Coach Matt.


I have been meaning to write this post for a while but the time just flies by!

For the last four years my two sons James and Tim have been competing in FIRST LEGO League (FLL). FLL is a competition for kids aged 9 to 16 years. It consists of four parts. Teams can be large or small (from 2 to 10 members)

FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) was founded by Dean Kamen of  DEKA Research.  You may recognize his name. He invented the Segway (among other things). He is an amazing guy.

Hi Everyone. There are now less than two weeks to go until we leave for the FIRST festival. We have been working hard on the robot and our three presentations we will give at the festival.

We are also now on Twitter so you can follow us at https://twitter.com/TeamAntimatter. @teamantimatter. It should be the quickest way to catch up with our journey.

Thanks! Tim, Ethan and Tonii.

Here is a wrap video of the 2013 event

Franklin Counties News. Issue Dec 10, 2013teamantimatter



Franklin kids, Tim Harrington, Ethan Kyle and Tonii Ruiterman (Team Antimatter) won New Zealand’s FIRST Lego League Challenge with their Lego robot and are now fundraising so the group can head to the world festival in St. Louis in the United States next year.
Many adults struggle to understand the concept of robotics, but these science whizz kids make it look easy. 

Franklin’s Team Antimatter took out first prize at the national FIRST Lego League (FLL) Challenge, held at Strathallan College on November 30, qualifying for the world festival in the United States next year. 

This was a practice run in October preparing for the New Zealand champs. We still had time in the 2:30 but were too close to the NZ champs to complete more programming. This run was 395 points.


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