Hundreds of teenagers and their hand-made robots from across California, the western U.S., Hawaii and as far as Chile converged on the South Coast, and some local teams were among the winners.
It’s the FIRST Robotics Regional Competition, which was a three-day event that ended Saturday at Ventura College. Forty-two high schools with about 2,000 students took part.
"Intense and fun at the same time," said Matthew Shen, a ninth-grader from Newbury Park High School. "I guess some of the fun kind of comes from the intensity of this because you can enjoy yourself, but at the same time there's that aspect of competition that's really nice to have."
The teams built, programmed and tested their robots before coming to the regional competition. This year's theme was"Steamworks" in which alliances of three teams each had to prepare for a long-distance airship race. Their robots battled to gain the most points by gathering balls, scoring with gears and even climbing a rope.
Among the six winning teams that advanced to the World Championships in Houston, Texas later this Spring are four from the South and Central Coasts – Circuit of Life team from Ventura, Spartatronics from Orcutt, Rivera Robotics form Santa Barbara and Mecha Pirates from Santa Barbara. The winning teams included students from Ventura and Buena High Schools, Foothill Technology, Orcutt Academy and Santa Ynez Valley High school.