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Robotics teams vie for honour of 'ringmaster' at Sault College (10 photos)

39 local teams registered for one of the largest robotics tournaments in Canada
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The VEX IQ Robotics Skills Challenge pitted a number of teams from Sault-based schools against one another Friday night at Sault College in an attempt to be crowned ‘robot skills champion.’

“You’ve got groups of kids here who are staying at lunch hour every day, they’re staying after school, some of them show up on weekends because they truly love to play robots,” said event director Jonathan Budau.

Thirty-nine teams are taking part in the two-day event, which Budau says makes it the largest robotics qualifying tournament in Canada. He expects to send six to eight qualifying teams from this event to the provincials, which takes place this March in Mississauga.

The theme for Friday evening’s skills challenge is ‘ringmaster,’ where the team’s robots compete by completing a variety of tasks using plastic rings. Each team has one robot, and there’s just 60 seconds on the clock to score as many points as possible.

“There’s multiple ways to do it, you design your robot around which points you’re going to try to go for,” Budau said. “If you’re really good, then you can probably score in all the different areas."

“If the kids like science and they like engineering, this is a great venue for them to test all of their skills and have fun while they’re doing it.”

The team matchplay portion of the event will take place at Sault College beginning Saturday morning, and will determine which local teams move on to the provincial championships.

“Some of our kids are going to end earning an invitation to provincials, and who knows? Maybe we’ll head off to the worlds,” Budau said.