Robotics team captures top honor at FIRST Tech Challenge World Championship
A team of nine local high school students, including some from North Allegheny and Sewickley Academy, captured the Inspire Award at the FIRST Tech Challenge (FTC) World Championship on April 27 in Detroit, Michigan.
The Inspire Award is the equivalent of the Oscar for high school robotics, said Marcel Bergerman, from the Robotics Institute at Carnegie Mellon University.
“The team that receives this award is a gracious competitor and an inspiration to other teams, acting with professionalism both on and off the playing field,” according to the FIRST website.
Winners share their enthusiasm and knowledge with other teams, and, working as a unit, this team showed success in performing the task, the website said.
Team members include TJ Faber, Felipe Bergerman and Owen Prem from North Allegheny, Adrian Zugehar from Mars Area, Parv Shrivastava from South Fayette, Christina Walton, Jayvir Monga and Aydin Turkay from Sewickley Academy and Kush Bandi from Winchester-Thurston.
The team, named The Giant Diencephalic BrainSTEM Robotics Team, worked nine months to design, build, program and test three generations of robots to solve this year’s FTC “Rover Ruckus Challenge.”
The competition gave a nod to the 50th anniversary of the Moon landing, mimicking the mining of minerals on “Planet X,” on a 12-by-12-foot field where robots had 30 seconds to autonomously land, sample minerals and park in a crater before collecting as many minerals as possible, depositing them and taking off.
The team was undefeated through the nine qualification matches, achieving the highest score in its division and earning the spot of captain of the first-place alliance.
With four more straight victories in the elimination round, they advanced through divisional semi-finals and finals, winning the division crown and earning a matchup at Ford Field for the game championship in front of more than 40,000 people.
The team was given its Inspire Award by Woodie Flowers, the Pappalardo Professor Emeritus of Mechanical Engineering at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and FIRST Executive Board Co-Chair.
Tawnya Panizzi is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Tawnya at 412-782-2121 x1512, [email protected] or via Twitter .