Robotics returns to World Championships for the fifth time

March 31, 2017 — Harding Academy’s robotics team Breakaway 3937 qualified for the FIRST Robotics World Championships while competing at the Bayou Regional in New Orleans from March 23-25. FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition in Science and Technology) is an organization focused on inspiring young people for futures in science and engineering related fields. This is the team’s fifth time to qualify for the world championship competition in the last six years.

As part of the competition, high school age teams compete head-to-head on a special playing field with machines they have designed, built and programmed. This year’s field is based around a giant, imaginary airship that robots must feed with fuel and enable to fly by retrieving large gears that turn airfoils. At the end, the robot must climb ropes to board the airship and take off in simulated flight.

Teams are given a six-week window to prototype and build their robot to meet the challenges of the scenario. The robot operates under pre-programmed commands and manual controls during different portions of the match to accomplish the required tasks.

“I am so proud of all the tremendous work Coach Jones and Coach Traughber and our Team Breakaway have given thus far this year,” said Superintendent James Simmons. “Earning for the third time the Bayou Regional Champs is amazing! I am very optimistic for a great showing at the world championships in April in Houston.”

The 27 Breakaway team members join the Academy’s seventh- and eighth-grade FIRST Lego League team, the Mindsweepers, who already qualified for the world championships. FIRST Lego League teams research a real-world engineering challenge, develop a solution for presentation, and compete with Lego-based robots of their own design.

Both teams will participate at the world championships in Houston from April 19-22 where there will be more than 1,000 teams representing more than 39 countries.

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