by Dennis Dalman
The public is invited to observe nifty robots and their ingenious makers perform wondrous feats at the statewide VEX Robotics Tournament Saturday, Jan. 6 in Sartell.
The competition, which is a free-admission activity, will take place from 9:30 a.m.-4 p.m. at Sartell Middle School.
Sartell participants will include award-winning teams from the middle school and the high school.
The competitive game is called “In the Zone.” Winning is vitally dependent on seamless teamwork known as “alliances.” In each two-minute round, two alliances (each consisting of two teams) first let their robots maneuver on their own for 15 seconds, after which the participants then control their robots via remote-control devices for one minute and 45 seconds. After the two minutes, points are added up and the winning alliance moves on to another round of competition.
At the very end of the day, the winning alliance is determined in the elimination round.
Each round takes place in a zoned-off area of the gymnasium, enclosed spaces measuring 12 feet by 12 feet. The zones are filled with plastic cones. The robots pick up the cones, move them across barriers and park and stack them. There are both mobile and stationary goals and the robot makers/controllers must work fast with great precision to accomplish their tasks in so little time.
The event at Sartell High School will involve 42 teams from schools throughout Minnesota.