Robots roll into Staples

On Saturday Jan. 4, Staples hosted a scrimmage of the FIRST Tech Challenge, an organization dedicated to the development of students’ robotics skills.

The gathering hosted over 100 students from a variety of Connecticut schools. Since September, teams sought funds and planned for the event. Each team built its own mobile robot, typically one that can carry out simple tasks such as moving a block or latching onto objects. The teams later compared their robots in a series of tests.

“The competitive spirit makes it really great,” Peter Sauer ’16, co-founder of the i2robotics team, said.

Though competition played a large part in the convention, it was emphasized that this was a “scrimmage”: an event that allows students to get acquainted with building before entering full-fledged contests. Ken Asada ’15, member of the Wrecker Robotics team, which qualified for the World Championships last year, confirmed this.

“The biggest part of [robotics] is gracious professionalism,” Asada said. “We help each other out as much as we can.”

Asada also emphasized the importance of the conference to newer team members.

“We’re just trying to get their feet wet so this involves a ton of practice,” he said.

Terry Sauer, adult sponsor for the i2 team summed up the importance of the gathering and robotics itself. “You can’t a build a robot by yourself. You need a team,” she said.