24506353553_09ae2f0576_kIt’s that time of year! The LigerBots, Newton’s FIRST Robotics Competition team, opens up its season this weekend in Worcester. This marks the first live competition the team will face as it works to return to the World Championships for the third straight year. The full weekend of competition for the New England District event begins on Saturday, March 12 at 8am and wraps up on Sunday at 7pm.

Spectators are welcome to watch at the WPI Harrington Auditorium or online at https://www.thebluealliance.com/. Live updates will also be available on Twitter and Snapchat under the handle @LigerBots.

This year’s robot, which was completed in late February, was the result of a six-week design and build season that saw significant changes from previous years. For the first time this year, the LigerBots broke the team into several small, guided design groups, each of which brought its own ideas to the table. The result is a low, fast robot with tank-like treads and an accurate, automated visual shooting system.

24886501870_9476852427_k25063857642_a2fea0e461_kIn all, more than 40 students put in nearly 3000 of hours of work in CAD, milling, electronics, computer programming, sales, marketing and finance to raise the money and build the parts that turned ideas into reality. In addition to the students, the team has a series of adult mentors who represent parents, Newton residents and employees of local businesses including those from team sponsors SharkNinja and PTC.

This year’s game is called FIRST Stronghold. It has a medieval theme, complicated gameplay and a lot of variables. Designing a robot to play it was no small task. Check out the video here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VqOKzoHJDjA.

After competing in Worcester, the LigerBots will face one more district event on April 2-3 at Boston University’s Agganis Arena. All competitions are open to the public.

This year the LigerBots also have a long list of local and national sponsors that truly help the team run, including Dunkin Donuts, PTC, SharkNinja, Google, BAE Systems, Raytheon, Whole Foods Market, McVittie Tax Advisors, At Once, Inc., Tanowitz Law Office, You Do It Electronics, and The Village Bank.

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