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Monday, March 23, 2015

Windsor to host Canada’s largest FIRST Robotics’ competition

The Windsor Star/Dave Waddell

It combines mental gymnastics for techies with an introduction to the real world of work.

The FIRST Robotics 2015 Windsor-Essex Great Lakes Regional competition is set for April 2-4 at the University of Windsor’s St. Denis Centre.

And the 50 teams attending the second annual event are charged with developing robots to improve recycling and reuse of natural resources.

“You have six weeks (to plan and create your project),” said WEGLR chair Larry Koscielski, who is also CentreLine Windsor Limited’s senior technical and strategic adviser. “The theory is you don’t have enough time, people, money or information. Get used to it and welcome to the real world.”

While an obvious draw for students interested in the sciences, engineering or math, Koscielski said the competition requires students from a wide array of academic interests.

It requires team building, creativity, critical thinking and an ability to raise the $10,000-$15,000 on average that it costs local teams to create a robot.

“The competition is essentially starting up a company,” Koscielski said. “You need accountants, business students, graphic artists, web designers and communications people as much as technical design people.

“It gives kids an opportunity to experience new things, so they’re not just reaching Grade 12 and throwing darts at the wall wondering what they want do in life.”

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