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Robots descend on Hudson High School

By Mary Ann Ferguson-Rich Published: December 9, 2012
Hudson robot
A robot awaits his turn to walk the runway during the 'fashion' show. (M.A. Ferguson-Rich/

There was a robot invasion at Hudson High School on Sunday, but their mission was peaceful.

The robots came to compete in performing tasks and were created by over 40 teams from Hudson, Tallmadge, Medina, Aurora, Twinsburg and other area schools.

The competition was begun by FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology), a non-profit educational corporation, in 1989 by inventor Dean Kamen. FIRST provides a robotics competition for high school students, a FIRST LEGO League competition for ages 9-14 and a Junior FIRST Lego League for those aged 6-9.

A robot named Turtle was built by Future Bionic Innovation, a high school team from Medina.  The team of six boys and one girl placed fourth in a game that required Turtle to place plastic rings into pegs in the center of a 12' x 12' diamond.

Turtle also participated in a fashion show with some of the more well-accessorized robots, while the audience awaited judging results.

Frankie Pearson, 16, said that their team was newly-formed this season, and they have been working together for the past two months on the project.  They will move on to regional competition in January.

Also moving on to a higher competitive level will be Hudson Middle School's team, the BreadOmatic 5000, under coach Lianghu Tian.

This team won three trophies at the tournament, including the robot performance award for achieving the highest score of 348 points, a programming award and an outreach award.

Team member Jean Liang said that they were last year's tournament champions, and she is excited about moving on in this year's competition.

Teams at their age level competed in a table-top robotic event.

The tournament also has a project category in the competition that does not involve robots.

This year's contest was a "Senior Solutions Project", where teams were asked to find a senior partner 60 years of age or older and identify a problem faced by seniors.

They were then charged with creating an innovative solution to the problem, and then sharing their problem and solution with others.

The SMARTs, a fifth-grade team from Aurora, created a sequin-encrusted, turquoise walker.

Team member, Branden Miller said that seniors would be more inclined to use an attractively-decorated walker.

He said the SMARTs were composed of three boys and 2 girls and that they have been meeting and working hard since August on their robot and senior projects.

The Hudson tournament was principally sponsored by LEGO, Time Warner Cable, Rockwell Automation and the Hudson STEM Alliance.