Robot competition tests student brainpower

TRENTON, N.J. - March 4, 2011

Hundreds of high school students, some from as far away as Canada and Brazil, converged on the Sun Bank Arena in Trenton Friday.

They brought with them 61 robots, which they'd constructed over the past 6 weeks, to compete in the annual First Robotics competition.

The goal on the field was to have your robot hang the most inflatable tubes on the posts during each round.

But that's just one goal.

"It's really not about the robot. We use that as a means to an end. The end is really teaching the kids life skills and life lessons," explains Director Donald Bowers.

And those lessons were everywhere. For Renan Carvahlo, making his second trip to Trenton for the Brazilian team, this is a chance to speak English, pursue his love of technology and visit the U.S.

"Since I am a child, I had a dream of coming here to the United States, and last year was my first time. And this year, the same thing, I am so pleasured to be here," said Renan Carvalho.

For the all-female Canadian team, it's a chance to break down stereotypes.

"Since we are an all-girls team, and we have done well in the past, they do take us seriously," said Amanda Paisley-Kirk. "We're not here to mess around."

And for Robert Molloy from Lenape High School, Robotics have been a steppingstone to a future in mechanical engineering at Cal Poly, along with being a lot of fun.

"Since I drive in the competitions, it's like something that you really don't experience, because I play football as well, and it like more competition for me. I just think it's so much fun," said Robert Molloy.

The final awards in the competition won't be given out until Saturday night, but with the lessons the kids learn, they are all going to be winners.

Copyright © 2019 WPVI-TV. All Rights Reserved.