Robotics super regionals invade Tacoma this weekend

TACOMA, Wash. -- Hundreds of extremely smart teenagers and their robots will invade the Tacoma Convention Center for the First Tech Challenge Super Regionals this weekend.

The First Tech Challenge is a robotic competition where teams are given the task to design, build, program and operate robots.

"Our robot is doing a challenge that is worldwide," said Robert Winton. "Everyone is competing in the same game."

This season, the teams were issued their challenge in August of 2016.

Their goal was to design a robot that can scoop up whiffle balls and shoot them through a hoop, and also lift a yoga ball into a basket.

"It is an obstacle course mixed with basketball, in that we are shooting things, but also hopefully go for the dunk at the end," said Winton.

Winton, a senior at Seattle Academy, is part of team 2658 Tesseract who began building their robot last September.

"Our robot is a n 18 by 18 by 18-inch robot," said Winton. "We spent weeks brainstorming and doing prototypes out of cardboard and other material just to see if will work and if it is efficient."

Seattle Academy began their robotics club 7 years ago under the guidance of Chemistry teacher Gabe Cronin who has watched his program grow.

"It is hard to explain how proud we are," said Cronin. "When I think about the stuff on the robots, those are kid made decisions and kid constructed work and that is what we are going for."

The hard work paid off last month during the state championship, when Seattle Academy won part of the 1st place in alliance for Washington.

"It is extremely hard, it can be frustrating at times especially when thing so not work," said Winton. "It is a really challenging process, because there are so many things that can go wrong, but it is real cool when it all comes together at the end."

This weekend, Seattle Academy will compete head to head against more than 70 high schools from 13 states at the Super Regionals. The top teams advance to the First Championships in Houston in April.

close video ad
Unmutetoggle ad audio on off