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Kiwi Kids turning "Robo-Kids" with Toshiba

Kiwi Kids turning "Robo-Kids" with Toshiba and Robocup Junior

Toshiba helps children learn, create and collaborate with RoboCup Junior

AUCKLAND, June 30, 2008 - As part of an effort to get kids excited about science and technology and build the scientific skills base of New Zealand's future workforce, Toshiba Information Systems Division (ISD) has announced its sponsorship of RoboCup Junior, a science and technology-oriented, robotics education initiative launched across the country this month.

Now in its fifth year in New Zealand, RoboCup Junior is an international programme that focuses on educating school students about the mechanics of robotic technology and how it can be applied in everyday life and work. Toshiba is sponsoring the nationwide competition, as well as supporting eight schools throughout Auckland, Wanganui and Napier. It will provide ten robots, Toshiba notebooks, software and ongoing technical support, training and volunteer time to both teachers and students in these schools.

Toshiba's Innovation Fund was set up using a percentage of the TELA (Teacher Laptop) scheme sales through the Ministry of Education to support ventures in the education sector that can be seen as innovative as well as educational.

"RoboCup Junior gives teachers and students the tools and opportunity to learn about robotic technology and use it in ways they might never have imagined," said Gary Wicks, New Zealand Country Manager, Toshiba ISD. "We want to provide students with transferable skills that they can also apply outside the classroom, as they start to enter the workforce and consider careers in New Zealand's science and technology industries."

Robotic technology has huge potential in New Zealand for key industries like engineering, farming and food processing. Robocup Junior is about turning possibility into reality for kids today so they are thinking about technology as they move into the workforce in the next five to ten years." Wicks concluded.

"RoboCup Junior's objectives are to provide an environment in which students can engage meaningfully and positively in applying science and technology to solving problems," said Harold Russ, RoboCup, New Zealand. "Toshiba's strong heritage in education and its sponsorship support helps us develop creative, imaginative students who are capable of working together co-operatively to find real solutions to challenging problems.

"Together, we are providing students in New Zealand with a hands-on learning environment, introducing them to the field of robotics, and getting them interested and comfortable with technology," he continued.

There are three categories of the RoboCup Junior competition: Robotic Dance, where students motorise their robots to dance to music whilst narrating a story; Robotic Rescue, students undertake a series of obstacles, mirroring real life use of robots that rescue people from life-threatening situations; and Robotic Soccer, where students design and program two robots to compete against an opposing pair of robots by kicking an infra-red transmitting ball into their designated goal. In each category, students are tasked with combining their co-operative problem solving skills with learned knowledge of robotics and science to find real, creative solutions.

These competitions are occurring at a regional level then culminating in a national competition on September 6 in Auckland. The initial regional-based competitions will take place in Dunedin on August 2, Wanganui on August 25, and Christchurch on August 17. The Auckland regional competition will be held on September 6, the same day as the national finals.

The competition is also sponsored by Modern Teaching Aids (MTA). More information about Robocup Junior can be found at . For more information on Toshiba products and services please visit .

About Toshiba (Australia) Pty Ltd:

Toshiba's Information Systems Division (ISD) is a division of Toshiba (Australia) Pty Limited which is a wholly owned subsidiary of Toshiba Corporation, the seventh largest integrated manufacturer of electric and electronic equipment, with around 191,000 employees worldwide, and annual sales of over A$76 billion on a consolidated basis.

Unique among vendors, Toshiba ISD specialises exclusively in mobile solutions and services. A global reputation for quality has been achieved through an R&D budget, roughly equal to Australia's total expenditure as a country in this area.

Since it pioneered the notebook market in 1985, Toshiba ISD has sold more than 1.75 million notebooks in Australia and New Zealand and in 2006 celebrated its 21st anniversary of providing market leading mobile computing solutions. Toshiba's Virtual Pressroom:

About RoboCup

RoboCup is an international effort whose purpose is to foster Artificial Intelligence (AI) and robotics research by providing a standard problem where a wide range of technologies can be integrated and examined.

RoboCup Junior is a project-oriented educational initiative that sponsors local, regional and international robotics events for young students. It is designed to introduce RoboCup to primary, intermediate and secondary school children, as well as undergraduates who do not have the resources to get involved in senior leagues. The focus of the junior league is on education.

The RoboCup Junior Educational Competition was introduced to the world in Melbourne in 2000. It is now played in more than 30 countries around the world. Created in true cooperative spirit, the RoboCup Junior Educational Competition encompasses not only engineering and IT skills, but extends right across a school curriculum. RoboCup Junior also addresses social development by encouraging sportsmanship, sharing, teamwork, understanding of differences between individuals and nations, cooperation and organisational skills.

For more information please visit


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