ROBOTICS RIOT - Students from Lacombe, Bentley, Calgary and Edmonton were at Ecole La Prairie to show off their robotics skills, while also introducing the world of robotics to the public. Carlie Connolly/Red Deer Express

WATCH: The public gets a taste of robotics

Lacombe students show off their skills in Red Deer

United Robotics of Lacombe, Ecole La Prairie and FIRST Robotics Western Canada invited the public to Central Alberta Robotics Riot, introducing Red Deerians to the world of robotics.

On Nov. 18th the Central Alberta Robotics Riot was held at Ecole La Prairie, an invitational competition for FIRST, known as For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology. FIRST was at the school to introduce people to the FIRST program, which is designed to inspire young people’s interest and participation in science and technology.

“We’re trying to grow the program. Central Alberta’s one of the main groups that is growing like crazy,” said Phoebe Arcilla, regional director of FIRST Robotics Western Canada.

Arcilla added that they have events from as young as kindergarten to Grade 12.

The main focus of the Nov. 18th event was the FIRST Tech Challenge (FTC), which saw students in Grades 9 to 12 compete.

There were four teams competing in a friendly competition, including students from Lacombe, Bentley, Calgary and Edmonton.

Steve Schultz, teacher at Lacombe Composite High School and a mentor for United Robotics of Lacombe robotics teams, said this event marked United Robotics of Lacombe’s second riot, the first being at Red Deer College.

“This is the only competition right now in Central Alberta,” said Schultz.

The public had the opportunity to see some demonstrations of First Lego League (FLL), FTC and First Robotics Challenge (FRC).

Schultz said FIRST Robotics has been running for 15 years in Alberta.

“FIRST Robotics is an organization out of the United States, which inspires to get kids excited about Science Technology Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) through the use of robots,” he said.

He added that every year FIRST comes up with a competition in all four of its categories, including Junior Lego, FLL, FTC and FRC.

“FTC started at Red Deer College about 15 years ago, and then about eight or nine years ago moved to Edmonton,” he said.

Students put their machines on a field called FIRST Relic Recovery, which had them execute various challenges, the object of the game being to attain a higher score than the opposing alliance.

In late January students will get to try their hand at a large competition called The Western Canada Championships, which are held in Edmonton. Teams from BC, Alberta and Saskatchewan are expected to compete, including Lacombe and Bentley.

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