Robot competition begins

Robotic teams at Clark Magnet and Crescenta Valley high schools are brainstorming over the new robotic competition challenge from FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology). For the last several years the schools have entered the competition; last year Clark Magnet’s team advanced from Los Angeles Regional to the National Competition.

FIRST was founded in 1989 by inventor Dean Kamen and is part of the NASA’s Robotic Alliance Project. The program brings science and engineering into a competitive arena. Each year FIRST challenges high school teams to build a robot that can play a specifically designed game.

This year the robots will play a game called “Lunacy” on a 27 by 54-foot rectangular field known as the “Crater” which will be bordered by a set of guardrails and Alliance Station Walls. The surface of the field is covered by “Regloith” a gel-coated, fiberglass-reinforced, polymer material. The robots will be equipped with slippery wheels and payload trailers. Robotics must shoot game pieces called “Orbit Balls” into trailers attached to the opposing team’s robot.

The regional competition will be from March 5-7 in Long Beach. Each team has mentors from the high school and from Jet Propulsion Laboratory but it is really the students that must work out any and all problems as they design, build, test and compete their robots.

Valley Sun will continue to follow this competition and the scientists and engineers from both high schools as they create and compete their robots.

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