Assembly Lines: Robotics Team Shines at First Competition

BLOOMFIELD HILLS, MI-Team 469 (Las Guerrillas), with students from the International Academy in Bloomfield Hills, won the 2003 FIRST Robotics Competition Championship in Houston. Their alliance partners were Team 65 (the Husky Brigade) of Pontiac Northern High School (Pontiac, MI) and Team 111 (Wildstang) from Wheeling High School (Wheeling, IL).

FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) is a nonprofit organization that pairs businesses and universities with high schools to inspire students to pursue careers in engineering, science and technology. Working alongside professional engineers, the high school students have 6 weeks to design and build a robot using a standardized set of motors, components and game rules. Once built, the robot competes in a series of short ball games on an arena floor at regional events leading up to the national championship in Houston.

This year's game, "Stack Attack," required the remote-controlled robots to collect and stack plastic storage containers on their side of the playing field, and keep opposing team robots from doing the same activity in each of the 2-minute rounds. As a twist, robots had to be preprogrammed to operate without humans at the controls for the first 15 seconds of the 2-minute rounds.

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