SOUTHINGTON - Southingtonâ€™s FIRST Robotics Team 195, The CyberKnights, will kick off their new season this Saturday at the Municipal Center.
The kickoff will be held from 9:30 to 11:30 a.m. in the public assembly room of the Municipal Center, located at 200 N. Main St.
According to team mentor Sandra Brino, the team of several local high school students has been hard at work organizing their shop in a space donated by Mohawk Northeast, Inc.
Theyâ€™ve been gearing up for their 2018 challenge, which the exact nature of has yet to be officially revealed. It will be revealed Saturday during the kickoff.
â€śWe hope you will join us for the big reveal,â€ť said Brino.
Each year, First Robotics creates a different challenge, which participating teams must then design and program a robot to accomplish within a specified time frame and with certain design criteria.
The teams then compete, sometimes in an alliance with other area teams, at local, regional and even national events.
A teaser trailer on the First Robotics website says that this yearâ€™s challenge will be called â€śPower Up.â€ť It shows a girl finding an old arcade cabinet in a basement and inserting a coin only to be sucked into the machine and become a digital sprite. This is supposedly a clue as to what sort of challenge the robotics teams will face for the 2018 season.
Last yearâ€™s competition was â€śsteampunkâ€ť themed - steampunk being a science fiction genre set in a historical setting with steam powered technology.
The team built a robot to scoop up and launch balls into the â€śfuel tankâ€ť of an airship, place gears on a tray to spin the shipâ€™s rotors, and then climb aboard. During some parts of the competition, the robots were unmanned and operated on programmed commands. During others, students controlled them with a video game controller.
Three robots from each alliance of school teams were on the field at the same time and the robots were able to push opponents around to stop them from scoring points.
The First Robotics website also stated that this year 3,600 teams will be participating nationwide. This includes 90,000 students between the ages of 14 and 18 and their adult mentors. The local team has been active for 20 years and has previously competed in the championships in St. Louis.