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Students design, build robots for national competition

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Posted at 7:41 PM, Mar 23, 2013
and last updated 2013-03-23 21:41:17-04

SALT LAKE CITY — The Maverik Center was full of robots on Saturday as teens from across the nation competed in the Utah regional FIRST Robotics Competition.

The FIRST Robotics Competition allows teams made up of 25 or more students to compete in “The varsity sport for the mind,” according to their website. Participants must follow strict rules, limits on resources and time constraints as they design and build their robots.

Students who get involved with the program learn from professional engineers and get to use sophisticated hardware and software as they compete for more than $16 million in scholarships.

Those who competed in this event were tasked with building a disc-shooting robot. When they finished, the teams took turns shooting discs into a series of slots from 20-40 feet away.

Participant Sheyne Anderson said teams that did well in this competition were then able to join forces and create robot alliances for the championship round.

“Everyone did random matches where they were teamed up with random other robots to compete, and then the ones that seeded the top, the ones that won the most matches and did the best, were then allowed to select other robots to be in their alliances with them,” he said.

Anderson said his team, The DaVinci Academy Dragons, preformed fairly well even though they didn’t advance to the final rounds.

“We had time on the practice field, and we’ve been competing in various competition matches, and we did pretty well,” he said. “We won about half our matches.”

After the championship round three robots will be selected to advance to the national competition.