Students bring the battling 'bots!

Friday, March 26, 2010
Student-built robots face off at the Drexel University regional robotics competition.

Student-built robots face off at the Drexel University regional robotics competition. (

Drexel University once again hosted the Regional Robotics competition, sponsored by the engineering non-profit group FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology).

During this year's game, called "Breakaway," two teams made up of three schools each will race robots around a 27-foot-by-54-foot field trying to score soccer balls into a goal for points. The robots will attempt to dribble soccer balls and travel through a challenging course of hills and tunnels. Each team's 'bot is remote-controlled.

Mechanics can get messy, and science, can sometimes get weird "It gets everyone motivated, pumped up, and it's just a lot of fun,"Matt Signorelli of Simple Machines told Action News.

With the way the crowd reacts, you'd think Jimmy Johnson himself was behind the wheel of one of these mechanical creations racing around at Drexel. The high school students, 1,500 of them from five states, worked on their robotic entries for months.

Down in the pit, you have to wear special protective glasses. They're not exactly worried about changing flats and refueling. They're more worried about something that is called an "encoder," and the "electromagnetic power kicker."

Precision in craftsmanship is of the essence.

Just ask Michael Czerwonk of the Robovikings. "We're putting our bumpers on, and we're also replacing our battery, and we're getting ready to go out, in two matches."

The typical engineering student tends to be male, so that's why one team, the Firebirds, has a bit of a chip on its shoulder. It's an all-girl-bot-squad and hails from Mount Saint Joseph's Academy in Flourtown.

" We gotta show 'em what's up," says Evelyn Flashner of the Firebirds.

The final rounds and award ceremonies are Saturday.

RELATED: You can get more information about the events Saturday.

(Copyright ©2014 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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