Students compete in robotics competition

Published On: Apr 05 2013 11:29:35 PM HST

Six weeks to make a robot that shoots Frisbees and climbs.

 That's the challenge students faced in this year's 2013 FIRST Robotics Competition.

 But for many of them, it's much more than just a game.

This year’s theme is the Ultimate Ascent with robots climbing pyramids as high as they can after flinging Frisbees.

 “Our robots have gone through some ups and downs, but it's turning out to be really interesting,” said Isis Martin, a freshman at West Hawaii Explorations Academy.

 “It's the most challenging fun I've ever had and it's an experience I never guessed it would be about," said Danielle Au, a senior at Mililani High School.

38 teams traveling from as far away as Australia and China are competing in Hawaii this week.

Only six will advance to the World Championships in St. Louis, Missouri later this month. 

But these young engineers including Brianna Acosta, the reigning Miss Hawaii USA, who competed for Wailua High School recently, learn more than just math and science.

"a lot of people think, 'I'm not smart enough.’  But they're something in it for everyone, no matter your skill set,” said Brianna Acosta.

 “They learn public relations skills and business skills among other things.  But most important, they learn to communication skills," said Bryan Silver, a teacher at Kalani High School.

Robotics doesn't come cheap. 

For the Kalani Falcons, their budget runs $70,000 per year. 

That's why they're selling mini-robots called “Bristlebots” to make more robots.

“It’s a tooth brush, cell phone vibrating motor, and a battery.  We saw it and thought it was an awesome idea and made it ourselves,” said Silver.

Kalani students sold 17,000 of the robots and raised $35,000.

The three day competition ends Saturday night. 


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