Robotic invasion coming to St. Louis from across the world

It’s the fourth year in a row that U.S. FIRST — For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology — has held its top competition here, drawing competitors from 38 countries.
The matches will be timed and intense. The crowds thick. The stands loud.Through it, thousands of students will demonstrate their knowledge of programming, and electrical and mechanical engineering.
For self-proclaimed geeks, it’s a little like March Madness.
“It’s an awesome experience,” said Alex Roberds, a senior at Eureka High School and member of Oddly Charged Particles, an independent team bound for the Dome. “We’re just excited to have this one last shot. You’re always playing with the best teams, and it’s great to meet people from all over the world.”
The team is among thousands across the country that compete in FIRST robotics. Students must design, program and build remote-controlled robots from a kit of metal rods, gears, cogs and other widgets including motors and computer chips. Teams have six weeks to build their robots using those parts, plus whatever else they choose to buy within their budget.
This year, larger robots on fields half the size of basketball courts will battle it out by maneuvering exercise balls into goal areas. Smaller robots will compete by putting as many blocks as possible into plastic crates on top of pendulums.
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