FIRST Robotics Competition Kicks Off

Competition teaches students valuable skills.

DULUTH, Minn.- 120 plus teams and their mechanical mates gathered at the DECC to battle it out.

The Double Decc’er started with practice matches, as teams tested out their robots on the official “FIRST Minnesota” arena.

Organizers say the competition requires students to branch out of the world of robotics, as they’re judged on other skills.

“One of the key phrases we have is that this is much more than robots,” said Master of Ceremonies Yoji Shimizu. “Everything from business and marketing, leadership, communication, teamwork, the importance of failure as a way to make progress.”

Competitors had 6 weeks to harness these skills.

Along with building the robots, they marketed their teams and performed community outreach, all of which was judged for competition.

Throughout the Convention Center excitement flows through all the wiring.

Competitors anxiously drill, saw and program their machines before practicing.

These students are excited not only to compete, but to meet other competitors.

“You get to meet a bunch of different people,” said Mason Gladen, Sophomore on Team 3754 from Bemidji.

“And you get to socialize with a bunch of people you don’t know that are interested in a bunch of the same stuff you are. They know all the same stuff that you do.”

Socializing helps. For some events, different teams will be paired together at random to get their robots to complete a task.

So the students must get their robots, and themselves, to work together.

The theme is Destination Deep Space.

Teams will have 2 and a half minutes to compete in different space themed events like climbing and filling a rocket ship with items.

“Our strategy is to get the cargo into the ships as fast as possible, being that we’re– we’ll be very fast, being that we’re one of the lightest robots weighing at about 60 lbs,” Gladen said.

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