The Penfield Robotics team is ready for this week’s Finger Lakes Regional FIRST Robotics Competition set for March 15 and 16 at RIT’s Gordon Field House.
Penfield seniors and sisters Julia and Charlotte Paille, along with teammate and Penfield junior Kyle Berg discussed the competition and their passion for FIRST Robotics Wednesday during News 8 at Noon.
“We are basically showcasing our robots that we built in the past six weeks,” said Julia. “Students, with the help from mentors, build these robots. They program it and design it, then we go to the Finger Lakes competition and compete with teams from all around the world.”
Penfield’s team is one of 49 set to compete. Charlotte explained how the competition works. “There will be two teams of three robots, and they will compete in challenges. This year is a space theme. We have to put hatch panels and balls onto a rocket ship, and also a cargo ship. All of that is within a two-minute and thirty-second period. At the end of the match, we have to climb almost, like, a staircase-type thing and we score points through all of that.”
Taking the process from vision to fully functioning robot in six weeks requires teamwork and dedication. “Our team from Penfield High School is made up of forty-plus students and fifteen or so mentors,” Berg said. “We all work together to build a robot that can do its best during the competition. It takes hours and hours and hours of time and energy, and just working our hardest to get this robot ready for the Finger Lakes Region.”
The educational opportunity can be illuminating. “You get to learn from mentors and professionals that actually are engineers,” said Julia. “You get to learn so much from them, even me. I knew nothing about building a robot, and now I could wire a robot. It’s very transformative for students, and we all have a ton of fun doing it!”
The Finger Lakes Regional FIRST Robotics Competition is free and open to the public.
Practice rounds will be held Thursday, March 14, with the competition taking place Friday and Saturday, March 15 and 16.
To see Penfield and the other teams in action, visit upstatenyfirst.org for more information about the competition schedule.