More than 1,200 participants will be gathering in Escanaba High Schoolâ??s gym this weekend for the annual â??FIRSTâ?? robotics competition.
This will be the first time the competition has come to the U.P. and preparations are underway.
FIRST means For the Inspiration and Recognition and Science and Technology, and its robotic goal is to excite students and inspire further education in technical careers.
â??Aside from just exciting students about a career in science, technology, engineering and math,â?? said FIRST Robotics President Gail Alpert. â??We also have $18 million in college scholarships available just to kids that are seniors on FIRST teams.â??
To compete, teams of about 25 students design and build a remote controlled robot that can play a sport. This year the robot must be able to take a huge ball and shoot it into a goal 12 feet off the ground. They are judged on both technical features of the robot and team building aspects.
The students were paired with professional engineers and were able to work on their robot for six weeks. After that period, it must remain in a sealed bag until the night before the competition. Each robot cost thousands of dollars, and Escanaba High School held many fundraisers to gather enough money for the project.
The competition starts Friday morning at 10:30 and ends around 7p.m. It continues Saturday, going from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. The event is free to the public, and everyone is welcome to watch.
â??Itâ??s a lot of fun to watch, itâ??s wild,â?? Alpert said.
For more information on robotics, the competition, and scholarships visit FIRST Roboticsâ?? website.