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Students Show Off Their Tech Skills at Robotics Competition

By Kerry Longobucco.
Local students showed off their skills Wednesday at the seventh annual Southern Tier Robotics Competition.

Middle and high school students from across the region have spent the year building and programming robots. On Wednesday at SUNY Broome, those robots went head to head in five competitive events, which tested their abilities to lift objects, complete tasks and follow lines.

Coaches say perfecting these robots takes plenty of dedication, creativity, and patience.

"They start with a programmable little brain, and most of the team starts with what looks similar to either Legos, or metal Legos," Michael Ramsden, coach of Chenango Forks High School's robotics team, said. "And they start designing mostly from scratch to solve whatever problems they've been assigned."

Participants say the process is all about trial and error.

"There's a lot of gears. You'll break things, things will break. Stuff will just not work out the way it should work out," Chenango Forks senior Nick Hutchinson said. "Go too fast, go too slow. You have to find the perfect medium to make it as fast as possible, but easy enough to drive."

Nearly 150 students competed today. The winners left with plaques, trophies and - of course - bragging rights.