By EDWARD HUSAR
Herald-Whig Staff Writer
The Saints Bots isn't the only local robotics team involved in competitions.
The Quincy Area Vocational Technical Center has a robot-building club that's competing in statewide challenges for the second straight year.
The QAVTC team competes at a different level of competition than the Saint Bots, but both levels are sponsored by a not-for-profit organization called FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology).
QAVTC competes in the FIRST Robotics Competition (FRC) series that involves larger and more elaborate robots, while the Saint Bots compete in the FIRST Tech Challenge (FTC), which involves smaller, less expensive robots.
The QAVTC squad is one of 2,550 high school teams competing in the FRC. According to Kristy McKenna, engineering technology instructor, the QAVTC squad is getting ready to compete in the FRC regional competition March 13-16 in St. Louis.
The competition will involve a series of matches by competing alliances, each consisting of three robots. Each alliance will work together to score as many discs into their goal as they can during a match lasting 135 seconds.
McKenna said the match will begin with a 15-second "autonomous period" in which the robots operate on their own with pre-programmed commands. Then students will drive the robots for the final two minutes of the disk-gathering competition. A final phase of the competition requires all robots to attempt to climb up pyramids to earn extra points.
McKenna said the robotics competition "is not just about increasing educational opportunities in science and technology, but instilling well-rounded life capabilities such as self-confidence, communication and leadership."
More information about the QAVTC club and its robot, "Little Devil," is available on the club's website: qavtcdevils.com.