In an effort to make engineering fun and relevant for today's high-school students and to encourage them to consider a career in manufacturing, Advanced Technology Services, Inc. (ATS) is sponsoring a team of students to build robots for the international FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) Robotics Competition.
More than 37,500 students from 1,500 teams worldwide compete in this event. The students work with mentors for six weeks to design, build and test robots. The ATS-sponsored FIRST robotics team is a mix of 20 talented students from Peoria Notre Dame High School, five professional engineers, a machinist and volunteer parents who work with the students to challenge them in the world of engineering and research. All of the teams receive a standard robot-starter kit of parts that they then supplement with additional parts as required by their designs.
The ATS team, named Team Icarus, placed 5th out of 45 teams in the seeding matches in the St. Louis regional on Feb. 28-March 1, but lost in the first round of the playoffs. The team is now preparing for their upcoming competition in the Boilermaker Regional at Purdue to be held March 13-15 where they will compete in a of 40 teams.
The team has been meeting six days a week during the build season including Saturday at the ATS corporate headquarters in Peoria, Ill. There, students work closely with mentors to build and test their robot for competition.