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High School Students Prepare Life-Size Robots For The Ultimate Showdown

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LONG BEACH (CBSLA.com) — More than 1,300 students from more than 60 regional high schools hammered metal and connected wires Thursday to prepare life-size robots for the ultimate showdown.

It’s all part of what’s been dubbed the “Super Bowl of Smarts,” or the 2013 Los Angeles Regional FIRST Robotic Competition, which started Thursday at Long Beach Arena.

The contest challenges students to build a 5-foot tall, 120-pound robot using their skills in engineering, math and science.

“There’s a very strict time constraint where you have to build the entire robot from scratch,” said Jeffrey Toobi from Beverly Hills High School.

Student Mathew Simon said, “We get 45 days, just a little over six weeks, to take a challenge that seems insurmountable, to break it apart. To figure out what we can do, what we can’t do, what we want to do, to work with industry partners and companies like Raytheon, Boeing, Walt Disney.”

The robots, operated by the students, are then required to launch Frisbee-like discs into a pyramid-shaped structure to earn points.

Winners move on to the national finals in St. Louis later this spring.

Although robotic competitions are more prominent in the states, some international schools were also invited.

“Fifty-one team members actually flew all the way to Los Angeles just for the competition. It’s a chance to show how we want to spread robotics throughout the country,” said Vannia Neira.

No points are actually awarded for flair, but the teams said they take creativity seriously, with the robots and themselves.

“We get very spirited. We like our orange swagger, as I like to call it,” said Toobi.

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