Local robotics teams prep for competition season

The Seven Rivers Robotics Coalition is hosting a preseason scrimmage with eighteen teams slated to participate.

Ten area FIRST Robotics Competition teams (La Crescent, La Crosse Aquinas, Onalaska Luther, Houston, Caledonia, West Salem, Onalaska, Westby, Holmen, Trempealeau County) will host the event this Sunday, February 18 at La Crosse Aquinas High School, according to a news release.

This season’s game is called FIRST POWER UP which finds FIRST Robotics Competition teams trapped in an 8-bit video game. Each three-team alliance has three ways to help defeat the boss: Tipping the scale or the alliance’s switch in their favor to earn points, exchanging power cubes for power ups (force, boost, and levitate) to gain a temporary advantage during the match, and climbing the scale tower to face the boss. The alliance with the highest score at the end of the match, which includes autonomous and teleoperated periods, defeats the boss and wins the game.

The challenge was announced on Saturday, January 6 and this event allows teams to compete on a full size field for the first time. Teams have been working to design, prototype, test, build, and program a robot to compete.

The scrimmage is a great opportunity for the teams to give their robot a final test before they must stop working on it February 23rd.

In conjunction with the event is the Aqua Adventure themed FIRST Lego League Junior competition for students Kindergarten through 4th grade.

The scrimmage and expo will be held at Aquinas High School from Noon to 4:00 p.m. The event is free and open to the public. Visitors will be able to meet with the teams in their pits and learn about the process of building a robot from scratch in six weeks.