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      Calumet Copperbots take first at FIRST

      Meet Otto. She is the first-place winning robot of the Calumet robotics team, the Copperbots.

      For the last six years, the Copperbots have been competing in the â??FIRSTâ?? robotics competitions--â??FIRSTâ?? meaning, For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology.

      But these competitions arenâ??t like the demolition derby-type free-for-all brawls you see on TV. They take teamwork, strategy, and networking skills because you choose the other robots in your alliance from different teams.

      "You could probably say itâ??s like a sport because itâ??s almost the full size of a basketball court, and so they court off a little area, and youâ??d have three robots on one team, three robots on the other, blue versus red," explained senior Jake Ellenich.

      "You want to stop the really good shooters on your opposing team, you want to stop them from shooting, and you want to be able to get your guys over to get the Frisbees, I guess for this time, to shoot into your side," added junior Olivia Stroup. "So, youâ??re having to go back and forth."

      This year the mission for teams was to shoot a Frisbee, but the Copperbotsâ?? robot doesnâ??t even have a shooter built on it. It does have a lift system, though. Each of the pistons on the machine can lift up to 160 pounds.

      "Thatâ??s what we use for our climber to go up the pyramid, got little claws and you go up and come back down and lift it up," Ellenich said.

      Otto is a defense robot, meaning she is responsible for stopping the other team from shooting Frisbees. But even though sheâ??s only a defense robot, she was good enough to be named the best bot in the district, which the Copperbots said is a big accomplishment.

      "Just being such a small team and having such little resources and the little amount of money that we have, it just means even more that it kind of realizes what you can accomplish if you really try," Stroup said.

      The Copperbots next goal is to take Otto to the state competition, but not before a few repairs are done.