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FIRST Robotics Competition Gets Down to the Wire

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TWC News: FIRST Robotics Competition Gets Down to the Wire
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Student built robots have hit the field for a high-tech game of ball at this year's FIRST Robotics Championship. NY1's Shazia Khan filed the following report.

The spirit of STEM was buzzing at the Edward Jones Dome in St. Louis on Friday as high school teams from the U.S. and nine other countries convened for the annual FIRST Robotics Championship. 

"I'm totally blown away by the sheer scale of everything. I think it's awesome," said Jack Hourihane of Team 4930 from Buffalo, New York.

"Everyone is so competent and so like on their task and on top of their toes. I think that's the most amazing thing. It's like a dream," said Maliat Manzur of Team 324 from Brooklyn.

"On behalf of me and my whole team everybody, it's really enjoyable," said Ken Chu of Team 4935 from Charlotte, North Carolina.

Each competing team received a box of parts in January along with a six week time frame to build a robot with athletic skill that could play with other robots for this year's challenge, "Aerial Assist."

"This year's challenge is basically taking a two foot diameter exercise ball, passing it between other robots and scoring in a goal that's six feet in the air," said Akash Tajker of Team 2468 from Austin, Texas.

And the journey from bits to bot was one filled with dedication.

"Staying at school until 10 p.m. sometimes, so six hours a day," said Leslie Ochoa of Team 5012 from Palmdale, California.

"Test, test, test and make sure everything is perfect and everything works correctly," Tajker recalled.

With their bolts, modules and wires in place it's now down to the wire for these regional winners to engineer the championship win where the best bot builders walk away with trophies and bragging rights. 

The robots may be made with aluminum, wires and other tech parts, but their creators will tell you they're also packed with personality. Take the bot named OBB or One Bad Brooklynite, for example.

"OBB is sharp. It's aggressive and it's ready to go," Manzur said.

"I would say our robot has a really courageous personality. It was designed to be really versatile and it's just exceeded our expectations 10 fold," said Aba Karet of Team 4930 from Buffalo, New York.

Team Buffalo's robot and the others now have one last chance to make their mark in this year's competition. 

Winners will be announced Saturday evening.

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