A robot built by San Leandro High School students recently took first place in a qualifying contest that sends the team to the next round in a competition sponsored by FIRST.org, whose challenges are like the SuperBowl of robotics.
The San Leandro High Robopirates and their mechanical creation, 5629, scored their win on February 4 at Valley Christian High School in San Jose.
FIRST is an acronym -- For the Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology.
The FIRST Tech Challenge, in which the Robopirates took part, is a mid-level competition designed to give high school students experience in programming, engineering and teamwork.
5629 scored points by pushing bowling balls or crates into a goal, and by lifting crates and placing small rubber balls into the crates, according to a press release from elated officials at the San Leandro Unified High School District.
The course had ramps and obstacles to flummox or topple the robots. The competition involved some cooperation. In each round, two allied teams joined forces to earn more points than another pair of robots.
The Robopirates and 5629 won the final qualifying round in an alliance with The Pink Fluffy Unicorns from Fremont.
The Robopirates will now compete in the Northern California FIRST Tech Championship Tournament on Sunday, March 4 at Newark Memorial High School.
The Robopirates are: Team Captain Martin Martinez; Robot Driver Ricky Liu; Substitute Driver Jacob Miller; Pit Crew members, Hansley Wijaya, Malik Cato and Andy Wong; Project Manager Nikki Romero; Head Mechanic Daniel Gomez; and Coach Bianca Luna.
San Leandro High School teachers Sarah Kayler and Rick Styner mentored the Robopirates, with help from former teacher Randy Picolet and community volunteer Erik Wilmot.
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