United States ambassador Mark Gilbert challenged a robot to a game of catch today at the House of Science.

Mr Gilbert was visiting the House of Science this afternoon and me with the house's robotics team, which will be travelling to the United States at the end of the month for the Vex World Robotics Competition.

Samuel Gillies-Smith, 14, Kate Low, 17, Dean Strydom, 17 and Callum McLeod have been spending the last 11 months building their robot for the competition.

It is capable of picking balls up form the floor and throwing them into a vertical net from across a room.

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When Mr Gilbert saw a demonstration of the robot's skills, he challenged it to a throwing competition - losing by just one ball.

At the end of the visit, Mr Gilbert gave each of the students a "challenge coin" with the American eagle on one side and the Silver Fern on the other side, as well as a pin flying the flags of both countries.