Local robotics team competes at world championship, rubs elbows - WSLS 10 NBC in Roanoke/Lynchburg Va

Local robotics team competes at world championship, rubs elbows with will.i.am

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A robotics team from the New River Valley is back home after competing at the First Tech Challenge World Championship in St. Louis.

We first introduced you to the Tuxedo Pandas back in March.  They're a group of middle school and high school students from Christiansburg and Blacksburg who first began meeting on weekends as a fun way to get together with other people interested in robotics.  Two years ago, they became an official First Tech Challenge team -- and they haven't looked back since.

Earlier this year they won the top prize at the State FTC Championship, which earned them a berth to the FTC World Championship in St. Louis.  They were one of only two teams from Virginia to qualify.

As part of the FTC, they have to design, build, and program a robot that can move around a 12 x 12 square, then lift and place rings onto pegs in the arena to earn points.  They're also required to document the process of building their robot and do community outreach projects to help promote robotics.

The Tuxedo Pandas finished 54th in their division at the World Championship.

"To put things into perspective, we finished 54 in our division at the World Championship out of 2,500 teams registered around the world," the team wrote in a post on their facebook page.  "We are super proud of our season and are pumped up for the next one."

Competing against the world's best teams wasn't the only memorable part of their trip to St. Louis.  Pop / Hip Hop superstar will.i.am (of Black Eyed Peas fame) spoke at the event -- and took notice of the Tuxedo Pandas' signature panda hats.  He stopped and interacted with them, even posing for pictures wearing one of the panda hats.





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