Bayfield High School robotics computer programmer Braden
Smitheram makes some adjustments to Stanley, the 2013 New
Zealand Robocup premier rescue winner. Photo by Peter
Stanley can be a temperamental character at times.
Some days he refuses to work, and other days he can do
acrobatics, like the ones he did recently, which won the New
Zealand Robocup finals in Auckland.
He is perhaps best known by his creator, Bayfield High School
computer programmer Braden Smitheram (15), who says he is
''He isn't pretty. In fact, he's a pretty complicated
''He has character quirks.
''When he goes over a bridge, he does a 360deg spin. I don't
''It might have something to do with the light sensors - he
does funny things now and then.
''All I know is it wasn't something I programmed him to do.''
Stanley and Braden won the premier rescue category at the New
Zealand Robocup final last weekend - an event touted as
''artificial intelligence at its best''.
The rescue competition mirrors the real life use of robots
that rescue people from life-threatening situations.
Robots like Stanley use colour or light sensors to follow a
line to a designated rescue area, always looking for the
shortcuts and coping with ramps and judder bars.
When Stanley arrives at a green coloured area, indicating a
chemical spill, he rescues ''the victim'' by picking him up
and placing him on a low platform near the edge of the rescue
That is, when Stanley is working.
Braden said the robot would occasionally refuse to work, as
it did at the Otago Robocup earlier this year.
''Luckily I didn't have to win it to compete in the
''But I was annoyed when he wouldn't work, because I spent so
much time and effort getting him ready.''
Braden said he had been working on Stanley since the
beginning of the year, and it was one of the reasons why he
was so pleased the robot out-performed all the other robots
at the national final.
''All the stress and work involved in getting to nationals,
it's just a big relief it's paid off.''
It was not the first time Braden had built a prize-winning
In 2008, he was a member of a team which won the junior
rescue category of the Otago Robocup, and last year he won
the senior rescue category of the Otago Robocup.
Braden was not the only Otago pupil to have success in the
recent national final.
King's High School pupil Philip Anderson (15) was third in
the Senior Soccer category.