DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) – Robots took over Miami Valley Thursday. The Nutter Center hosted 60 teams from eleven different states for a regional First Robotics Competition.
The international STEM program gives students practice designing, manufacturing and engineering robots to perform complex tasks. The theme of this year’s competition was FIRST Level Up, inspired by vintage arcade games.
Teams had to maneuver their robots through a course, pick up blocks and place them in various bins and slots to earn points. The robots eventually face a “boss” to defeat the game.
“It’s really exhilarating at the end because it’s by far the riskiest part of the game,” said Louisville, Kentucky based competitor Conor Blackburn.
Thursday, teams unpacked, reassembled, practiced and worked out issues with their machines. The groups had six weeks to design, build and program the robots.
Marcus Ford, a competitor from Carmel, Indiana said, “We met three and a half hours after school every day for six weeks after the game was released.”
The teams work with mentors in science, technology and engineering related fields while they develop their designs.
David Campbell, a mentor and co-chair of the Miami Valley Planning Committee for First Robotics Competition, said the program is valuable in giving students hands-on experience.
“They’re learning about design work, they’re learning about the manufacturing process, so it really is a very deep level of learning that happens,” Campbell said.
Many of the competitors said they plan to pursue an engineering-related field after high school.
Conor Blackburn said, “Understanding how things work and how things fit together, that’s the kind of stuff that we’re learning here and the kind of stuff we focus on when we do training.”
The top six teams from the regional competition will go onto the world championship in Detroit in April.Grab the FREE WDTN News App for iPhone or Android. Stay up to date with all the local news, weather and sports as well as live newscasts and events as they happen. Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter for all the latest news, weather and sports.