By MICHAEL KITCH, LACONIA DAILY SUN
GILFORD — After topping the field and reaching the semifinals in two district competitions the Gilford Screaming Eagles, a robotics team, is looking further afield to the FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) Robotics New England Regional Championship in Hartford, Connecticut, where victory would earn them a place in the World Championship in St. Louis.
To get there, the team is hoping to raise $7,000 by April 13.
The competition sees teams involved in a six-week project in which they build a robot from a kit which is provided for them and requires them to use their math, science, technology and engineering skills to design and program the robot to perform certain tasks which are required as part of the competitions.
This year's game, FIRST Stronghold, is played by two alliances of three teams each. Alliances compete against each other to breach their opponents' defenses, known as outer works, and capture their tower. They score points by crossing elements of their opponents' outer works, scoring boulders in their opponents' tower goals, and surrounding and scaling their opponents' tower.
Brad Parker, who described himself as the foreman of the team, said yesterday that "The L'il Sweeper," the team's robot that dodges barriers and overcomes obstacles on its way to tossing a ball into a goal, is primed to compete. But, he added, designing and building the robot and meeting the registration fees and traveling expenses required to succeed in competition has all but exhausted the team's resources. This year, he said, the team has spent approximately $23,000. He expected the team would need to raise $7,000 to compete in Hartford between April 13 and 16 and another $18,000 by April 24 if it qualifies to compete in St. Louis at the world championship.
The team is one of 3,000 from around the world with an estimated 78,000 students involved in the FIRST Robotics competition, which was launched in 1989 by New Hampshire inventor and technological innovator Dean Kamen, with an eye to inspiring students to explore science and technology as future careers.
Those wishing to help the team can send a check to Gilford High School Robotics Team, 88 Alvah Wilson Road, Gilford, NH 03249, or visit www.gofundme.com/gilfordrobotics.
Some of Gilford’s FIRST team players celebrate their regional win. At top are Joe Bonnell and Mike Andrews, the drive team coach; kneeling are drivers Tim Rice and Connor Craigie. (Courtesy Photo)
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