United Robotics of Lacombe hosts First Robotics Competition

Thirteen teams compete in ‘Skystone’ competition

The United Robotics of Lacombe (URL) held one of five First Robotics Competitions over the weekend.

This year, the theme was Star Wars, and the event was dubbed Skystone.

Steven Schultz, Lacombe Composite High School teacher, said the event is under the umbrella of Robotics Society of Western Canada.

“We were given the opportunity to host an invitational and we decided to host one of the five First tech Challenges,” he said. “First Tech Challenge is an opportunity for junior high and high school students to build a robot and learn programming skills.

“They learn how to fundraise, code, reach out to our community and they also put on the competition.”

Each team consists of three to 15 students and the event hosted 13 teams from across central and northern Alberta.

“The emphasis in league play is providing students an avenue where they can test out their robot and make modifications before the Alberta Championships,” Schultz said. “The emphasis is having the hardest fun you can have and we also quote that this is the sport for the mind.

“We want to encourage students to explore STEAM, which is science, technology arts and math.”

The event was very competitive, which one team from Lacombe and their robot Bruhbot finishing in the top three.

“We have three teams from Lacombe Comp, two teams from Bentley and a team from Lindsay Thurber,” Schultz said.

Going forward, local teams will continue to fine-tune their robot for the Alberta Championships March 7-8 in Edmonton.

“We are really excited about that. If we win there, the next steps would be preparing for the World Championships in Houston, Texas in April,” Schultz said.

URL is looking for volunteers in the community to help with their club.

“We need volunteers to help with supervision, chaperoning, some technical skills, coding and right now we are lacking some expertise in the design area. If there is a company or business that has equipment they are looking to pass on, they could pass on hand tools, laser cutters, 3D printers and we would honour with them with acknowledgment,” he said.

The club is also looking for financial sponsorships.

“As we get more and more competitive, it becomes more expensive and going the World Championships costs between $2,000 to $3,000 per student. That would be appreciated,” Schultz said.

He added special thank yous for Wolf Creek Public Schools, Lacombe Composite High School, DOW Canada, Lacombe Upper Elementary School and Blackfalds Intermediate Campus.

“If there is a student in the community that is interested in robotics, schools in the community will accept them. We accept kids in the community from junior high up,” Schultz said.



todd.vaughan@lacombeexpress.com

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