The Wired Wizards, New Hanover County's nonprofit team of high school students dedicated to the principles of science, technology, engineering and math (STEM), entrepreneurship and service, competed in the FIRST Championship, a robotics competition, in Houston, Texas, on April 17-20, the team announced in a news release. More than 1,400 top-seeded teams from around the world met to test their robots in the tournament.
FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) was founded in 1989 to inspire young people's interest and participation in science and technology. The FIRST Robotics Competition (FRC) championship event, according to team members, "combines the excitement of sport with the rigors of science and technology – something FIRST calls the 'ultimate sport for the Mind.'” Teams of high school students build and program industrial-size robots to compete in a challenging field game.
In addition to qualifying for the world championship, the Wired Wizards finished third at FIRST North Carolina’s FRC state championship April 5-8 at Campbell University, competing against 32 of the top FRC teams in North Carolina, according to the release.
“Until this year, our team had never traveled to the state competition to compete with our robot. We did great, and are so excited to qualify for the world championship,” Wired Wizards team captain and high school senior Charlotte Smith said in the release.
Wired Wizards' robot, TARS, weighs almost 125 pounds and stands 6-feet, 4-inches tall.
The Wired Wizards' programming team wrote several hundred lines of code in Java, and made hundreds of code changes throughout the season, so drivers can control TARS remotely around the basketball court-sized field.