Teams from Edina High School and the Breck School in Minneapolis took the top two prizes at the Minnesota Regional FIRST Robotics Competitions.
This year's competition challenged students to build robots that could play basketball. Breck team coach Gene Jasper, a volunteer from United Health Group, said his students concentrated on fine-tuning their robot's sense of balance, and that's what gave them an edge.
"Our robot, you line it up, it's really on the basketball tee, it shoots baskets, and then it goes around and collects balls, and it has to climb on this precarious bridge structure in the middle of the stadium," Jasper said. "The Breck team had a very stable robot and I think many of their points did come from balancing."
Jasper said his team was a diverse group of boys and girls with interests ranging from business to sports. He said their various interests played into the success of their creation.
"The robot is a six-wheel, two-speed robot that is very fast," he said. "It's got a very sophisticated vision-assisted targeting system. The team also looked at the Segway — that's that sort of two-wheeled mobility device — and they put some of that logic into the robot so it wouldn't tip over."
Jasper said the Breck team's robot passed inspection quickly and had no mechanical failures.
Both Edina and Breck will go on to compete for a national award.