Students from dozens of area high schools piled into Oak Ridge National Laboratory’s Manufacturing Demonstration Facility on Saturday to get a sense of the obstacles they will be battling over the next six weeks. Hundreds of students, parents, and mentors attended the kickoff event for the 2013 FIRST robotics competition, a nationwide event in which students design and build complex robots that can tackle the challenges of a specially designed game.
This year’s challenge, which involves robots that can throw discs and climb pyramids, was revealed via simulcast on Saturday morning. Teams were then able to view a full-scale version of the competition field and hold mock games on it. The field, sponsored by Tech 2020 and assembled by the Hardin Valley Academy FIRST Alumni Club at ORNL’s Manufacturing Demonstration Facility, or MDF, is available for all local teams to use during the build season.