Raytheon-mentored student team wins 2016 FIRST Robotics competition
The robots were storming the castle.
At the 2016 FIRST Robotics World Championship competition in St. Louis, Missouri, 600 teams of high school students from all over the world led their own robot creations in "attacks" on faux medieval towers guarded by rival teams. The robots broke through barrier defenses, picked up and shot 10-inch foam balls masquerading as boulders, and for extra points, climbed the towers they conquered.
It wasn't easy.
"Our robot fell over twice in one match, but our student drive team was able to use the robot's arm to get back up and continue playing to win," said Raytheon engineer Shane Palmerino, lead mentor for the Beach Bots, a team from Hope Chapel Academy in Hermosa Beach, California.
In a repeat performance, Hope Chapel captured the FIRST world championship this year.
Victory was particularly sweet for Palmerino, who was a high school student member of the team from Hope Chapel that won the 2005 FIRST Robotics World Championship. FIRST, meaning For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology, is an annual competition founded by Dean Kamen, inventor of the Segway scooter. More than 20,000 students from 42 countries competed in this year's contest.
Beyond Palmerino and his Beach Bots, who competed as Team 330, a second Raytheon-backed team advanced to the world championships : the Tor Bots (Team 1197) from South Torrance High School, who also competed in the final Einstein round.
Both teams share a commonality — as do nearly two dozen other Los Angeles-area high school FIRST Robotics teams: They are supported by more than 5,000 Raytheon mentor volunteer hours. Raytheon's Los Angeles regional robotics mentoring efforts have been largely driven by Raytheon engineer Ric Roberts, chairman of the FIRST Robotics LA Regional Organizing Committee.
For more than a decade, Raytheon volunteers and funding have supported more than 20 high school teams entering FIRST Robotics competitions, in which student teams compete to build the best robot for specific purposes, such as functioning underwater or turning the pages of a book for disabled readers. Ten of those teams earned more than 30 regional, divisional and national awards.
Raytheon's involvement in FIRST Robotics is part of a broader initiative known as MathMovesU, which helps inspire students to pursue expertise in science, technology, engineering and math, subjects known collectively as STEM. Other efforts include MathAlive!, a traveling, interactive exhibition that has been shown around the world; the MATHCOUNTS math bee; and Engineering is Elementary, which develops engineering curricula for elementary school teachers.
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