Fierce Competition at Robotics Competition

Edwin Choy
Edwin Choy
Alex Sarkowsky
Alex Sarkowsky

MANOA (KHNL) -- It's one of the biggest science competitions in the world. The first-in-Hawaii regional robotics competition is going on at the Stan Sheriff Center at the University of Hawaii's Manoa campus. Participants say it's an opportunity for teams of budding scientists to go head-to-head.

It's a competition of epic proportions, pitting robot against robot, brain against brain.

The energy at the Stan Sheriff Center is electric.

"It's great. It's so fun," said Alex Sarkowsky, a participant from Los Angeles. "It's loud, and there's all these people. It's wonderful."

More than 700 students from 37 high schools in Hawaii and the mainland brought custom built robots.

The goal is to drive them around a track, maneuvering giant balls and scoring points. As with any complicated machinery, things can go wrong.

"It was very tough," said Edwin Choy, a participant representing Island School in Kapa'a, Kauai. "We had some issues, steering malfunctions. It was kind of hard for us a little bit."

So they fine tune their robots in between competition.

"The Muses" from Los Angeles are the one of the teams to beat.

"It's so fun. We're having a great time," said Sarkowsky. "Our robot's doing really well and we're currently in second place."

Parents, fans, and even Gov. Linda Lingle, R-Hawaii, came to cheer on the teams. This competition teaches young people science can be fun.

"It comes to life and that's exactly what these students are seeing," said Lt. Gov. James "Duke" Aiona, R-Hawaii. "They're seeing something come to life."

If you think it looks cool on TV, the lieutenant governor says it's way cooler to see it firsthand.

"This is one of those things that I can't describe to you," he said. "You have to be here in person to really appreciate it."

The regional finals are Saturday at the Stan Sheriff Center.

Winners of the regional competition will go on to the nationals in Georgia, which will take place April 17-19.