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Battle Of The Bots Heads To Jacob Javits Center

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Robots are  invading New York City this weekend.

As CBS 2’s Diane Macedo reported Friday, some of the Tri-State area’s brightest students are showing their creativity in a team challenge that culminates at a competition at the Jacob Javits Center.

Sixty six high school teams will compete in the 14th Annual New York City FIRST Robotics Competition.

“This year’s challenge is aerial assist. You can see they have a large ball that they’re tossing in the air and passing to each other and they have had six weeks to build the amazing robots that you see behind us,” said NYC FIRST Executive Director Pat Daly.

The competition actually began in January, when the students learned what the robots would have to do and what parameters they’ll have to meet for the competition.

“They inspect everything electrical. They inspect the battery, they inspect your motors, it’s really intricate,” Daly said.

Every year the game changes. This year, the object is for the robots to toss balls they’re holding into giant hoops stationed above all the players.

Meanwhile, there are robots from the other side trying to keep them from completing the task.

There are also extra points awarded for passing, which can be challenging given the robot teams are constantly changing.

“Those alliances are selected by a computerized process,” Daly said. “Then at noon on Sunday, the team captains of the top eight teams will pick two other teams to be in their alliance for the final.”

Players also have to deal with the occasional technical difficulty.

“Right now, only our right side’s moving. So we’re setting up a jaguar motor to this side,” one participant explained.

Win or lose, all the competitors seem to agree there’s a lot to be gained from the competition.

“The experience is really fantastic of coming here and being able to make these connections you’re going to keep for life,” said team captain and senior at Plainview High School Mustafa Ansari.

“A lot of computer programming is used and a lot of engineering, so I feel like this is great for the future,” said Mary Louis Academy senior Jessica Tagle.

All the competitors also qualify to apply for more than $19 million in college scholarships. The three winning robots will go on to a national competition in St. Louis, Mo.

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