More Than 4,000 People Expected To Invade St. Denis Centre For FIRST Robotics Event

The fifth annual Windsor-Essex Great Lakes District FIRST Robotics competition continues today at the St. Denis Centre.

The two day event kicked off on Friday and features 1,500 high school students representing more than 35 teams from across North America.

The event is put on by WE Tech Alliance in partnership with the University of Windsor, St. Clair College and a number of local companies including CenterLine.

Irek Kusmierczyk is Director of Partnerships with WE Tech.

He says the event allows students to get fired up about science, engineering, technology and mathematics.

"They come from mostly Ontario, but also Michigan and some of the other Great Lake states and they're basically competing for a spot in the World Championships which will be held in Detroit at the end of April," says Kusmierczyk.    

Kusmierczyk says the students built the robots over a six week period.

"These are 120 pound robots, very sophisticated pieces of equipment and they're able to take blocks or containers and stack them that's how they score points," says Kusmierczyk.  "They balance these on a huge balance at the centre of the arena and then these robots also have to climb and hoist themselves up and climb about five or six feet."          

He says it's an electric atmosphere at the St. Denis Centre.

"You've got about two and a half thousand people in the stands just rocking, there's music playing, kids are all dressed up in different mascot and costumes," says Kusmierczyk.  "They're dancing in the stands and of course on the main field you have six robots at a time that are competing against each other."        

Kusmierczyk says day one featured qualifying matches.

He says Saturday's events include more qualifying competitions and the championship rounds.