PORT BYRON, Illinois -- Riverdale High School was a playground for Legos on Sunday afternoon for both the robots stacking them and the children the event was benefiting.
The FIRST Tech Challenge Robotics League Competition took place on Sunday, January 19th at Riverdale High School and it united about a dozen robotics teams from across the area to compete.
The competition involved the teams guiding their robots through obstacles and having them stack Lego blocks onto the correct mats, with bonus points award if they could successfully stack the blocks on top of each other.
As simple as that might seem, getting a robot to work exactly how you want it to involves a lot of work. As Riverdale High School's Robotic Rams team member Boston Leighty puts it, "There's like basically little divisions of the team, like we have the whole coding team that spends months going through trying to make the code that works, that can do the stuff, or the building team, and the prototyping; trying to find what works best. Like, you have to build designs, You have to have a notebook keeping track of everything you do. You have to design the whole robot and the build it, and then test it, then design, then build, then test."
In addition to the competition, the event had a second purpose. The Robotic Rams continued their annual Lego Fundraiser to raise money to buy Lego sets for kids in the University of Iowa Stead Family Children's Hospital. Previous years' fundraisers raised over $6,000 and donated over 240 Lego sets to the hospital.