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Apex Dynamics and Team Rembrandts: partners in robotics and technicians of the future

Team Rembrandts started its preparations last month for the latest challenge in the FIRST Robotics Competition. With Gijs de Veer, board member at Team Rembrandts, we discussed developments within the team in recent years, latest challenges and their relationship with Apex Dynamics. What is going to happen this year?

Gij de Veer Who is Gijs de Veer

Gijs de Veer has been part of Team Rembrandts for a number of years and since 2018 he’s also been a member of the board. Last year, as chairman of the board, he focused primarily on cooperation between the team and the partners involved. This year he combines his studies and and an internship with a role in the leadership team. Gijs is in his third year of English Mechatronics training at Fontys Hogeschool and is doing an internship at MTA BV in Helmond. At MTA he prepares the automation of an existing production line through, how could it otherwise be, robotics. Work and hobby are not that far apart for Gijs.

In his role within the leadership team, Gijs will focus on the resources available to the foundation, but also on improving cooperation with the business community. Because, in addition to becoming the world champion once again, Gijs also wants to continue making young people enthusiastic about technology.

FIRST Robotics Comeptition

Trophy wall

To retain the world champion title is the goal. But what does this mean exactly? For those who don’t know the tournament: every team builds a robot from a mix of prescribed and individual parts that must be able to perform various tasks. For example, moving balls or placing rings on a construction and thereby earning points. The winner of the tournament is crowned world champion.

But other prizes can also be earned. On the basis of different team performances, a jury awards with trophies. For example: a reward for the combination of enthusiasm among young people and the use of technology.

Building robots is cool

Since its foundation in 2012, Team Rembrandts has already won 20 awards (!), Including the Excellence in Engineering Award and the Engineering Inspiration Award. Last year the team crowned this success by winning the FIRST Robotics championship. Team Rembrandts is therefore the current world champion. But that didn’t happen by itself:

“After a very bad year in 2016, the management of Team Rembrandts at the time thought carefully: what do we want, what can we do and how can we improve our results? The path they followed led to our first win at a regional tournament in 2017 and now we are the current world champion. The world title is of course a dream and it was also a future goal, but nobody at Team Rembrandts expected to be a world champion now. That is why winning again is definitely a dream for us.”

For Gijs personally, becoming a world champion is also a goal, but what he really wants to achieve with Team Rembrandts is to develop a system to keep young people enthusiastic about technology and robotics. Ultimately, Gijs wants everybody in the Netherlands to know how great robots are, and how fun it is to work as a team at the FIRST Robotics competitions.

Raising enthusiasm among young people about robots and technology

“We want to make robots popular among young people and focus on students who have not yet made a choice. Enthusiastic students do have sometimes further skills because they learn so much from enthusiasm. Many students with programming knowledge are already well above the study level when it comes to programming in javascript or design in SolidWorks. Starting students who come from Team Rembrandts often have a step ahead in their studies with regard to technical knowledge. ”

There is a lot of diversity within the team, and high school students work together with university students and graduate professionals in technology or graphic design. A lot of different people who develop in their own way and find their path, that is what Gijs likes most about Team Rembrandts. The team works closely with various companies in the technical sector. Gijs sees that there is more and more bond between companies and students, people feel involved in the team. This leads, for example, to more internship places for team members.

Rembrandts and Apex Dynamics: what is going to happen this year?

Apex Dynamics is one of those companies with which Team Rembrandts cooperates, in 2020 for the third year. This year, Team Rembrandts and Apex are looking together at how they can use the APEX products in addition to the technical knowledge. How can we use the Apex products in the robot?

“Thom and Apex are very enthusiastic and involved. We don’t have to inform them quite often, they are always well informed! They are very involved in our process and this year a number of projects within our team are working on actually integrating Apex products into our robot.”

Building a hybrid robot is the challenge of 2020

At the moment, Team Rembrandts is in full preparation for the FIRST Robotics Competition 2020. At the beginning of January, the team received a movie and a 130-page book with the rules for this year and the development could begin. This year, the robot must be able to move balls, among other things, to the other side of the playing field and shoot in two different targets. Of these two goals, one goal is at a height of around 2 meters. In another game element, the robot must pull itself up with other robots and balance itself on a kind of clothes hanger system.

APEX Dynamics is following Team Rembrandts on this special webpage.