Updated 01/09/2010 09:39 PM
Chenango County students to face off in national robotics competition
Six weeks, $3,500, a parts kit and a rule book. That's all competitors get to create a robot as part of the national For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology Robotics Competition, also known as FIRST. A group of students from Chenango County is again taking on the competition this year. Our Janelle Burrell paid them a visit during their first day of work.
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NORWICH, N.Y. -- Their mission: to create a robot that will compete with others from across the country in game similar to soccer.
"You kind of drop your jaw a little bit, and tweak your head, and kind of raise your eyebrow and say, 'What? We're supposed to do that,'" exclaimed Patrick Bankich, co-captain of the FIRST Robotics Team from Chenango County.
The 23 member TR-X 145 Robotics Team and their mentors received the challenge Saturday, as part of the annual FIRST Robotics challenge, pitting them against 1,800 teams. They are all given a $3,500 budget, a kit of parts, and a rule book as their only guide.
"They've been given a very demanding task - they've been given six weeks a common kit of parts they have to take and design a very complicated game," said Dave Sheldon, the team's lead mentor.
The structure they create will be life-size and they estimate it will take a combined 3,000 work hours, working six days a week over the next month and a half to accomplish their task.
The students say they they're thrilled to take on the challenge, and thrive from the camaraderie of fellow science lovers.
"I love coming here and seeing people excited about engineering, and building robots, and science and math," said Emily Perry, a team co-captain.
"Sometimes your biggest problem is just plain slowing them down a little bit. They're all very enthusiastic and they're excited," said mentor Jim Sergio of the students.
With their hard work ethic, the students have their sights set high.
"I would really like to be able to win the regional and to nationals," said Bankich.
The first competition on their schedule is the Finger Lakes Regional in Rochester on March 5th.
For more information on the FIRST competition and other initiatives, visit connectamillionminds.com. To learn more about the team, visit www.trx145.net.