FIRST robotics meet Saturday in Fairfield

Illuminati Confirmed, the Jefferson County 4-H FIRST Tech Challenge Robotics team, is hosting a ?Relic Recovery? League Meet for the 12 teams of the Morris League of Southeast Iowa Saturday at the Jefferson County Fairgrounds Cambridge Learning Center.

The FIRST Robotics League Meet No. 2 will be open to the public from 10:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.

The Morris League consists of two local Fairfield teams: Illuminati Confirmed and Nicebot from Maharishi School. Other teams competing are from Danville, Columbus Junction, Keokuk, Donnellson, Mt. Pleasant and Muscatine. Teams consist of students from seventh- to 12th-grade and can have no more than 15 members.

During the FIRST robotics season, teams compete in three league meets before advancing to the league championship, which will be Jan. 27 at Indian Hills Community College. From there, winning teams will advance to super qualifier, state, super-regional and world championship. During the 2016-2017 season, Illuminati Confirmed advanced to the state level and had two students attend the world competition as student ambassadors.

During the Fairfield league meet, 12 teams will compete in at least five matches, each time randomly paired with a different alliance partner. Four robots compete in each match.

In addition to the opportunity of watching a sport for the mind, spectators are welcome to visit displays by other local Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) clubs or classes. Other groups attending will be LEGO League Jr. for early elementary home-school, LEGO League for fourth- through eighth-grade after school, Project Lead the Way Robotics for Fairfield Middle School eighth-graders, and others.

If interested in having a STEM project or team showcased or providing outreach during the event, contact Bonnie Hilger at the Jefferson County Extension office at 472-4166.

The 2017-18 FIRST Relic Recovery game is played on a 12-foot square field with approximately 1 foot high walls and a soft foam mat floor. The object of the game is to obtain a higher score than the opposing alliance by: scoring Glyphs, which are large foam blocks into the Cryptoboxes and completing rows, columns, and ciphers; transferring Relics (large golden idols) to the Recovery Zone; retrieving Jewels (large softball-size Wiffle balls); parking on the Balancing Stones, which are large square wobbly platforms; and navigating to specific parts of the Playing Field.

Matches have two distinct periods of play: a 30-second autonomous period followed by a two-minute driver-controlled period. The last 30 seconds of the driver-controlled period is called the End Game, which adds new scoring opportunities for robots to achieve. During the autonomous period, robots operate using only preprogrammed instructions.

For more information, contact Hilger at 472-4166.