Israeli Students Take 1st prize in Int’l Robotics Competition

Group of high-schoolers from the southern Israeli town of Yeruham, is 1st Israeli team to take part in the ‘FIRST Tech Challenge’. Along with winning the top prize, the Israeli team won 2 additional trophies: for creativity & for success as 1st-time participators.

By Gadi Golan & Israel Hayom Staff


A group of students from the southern Israeli city of Yeruham won the first prize at the FIRST Tech Challenge robotics competition held in Chicago last week.

Yeruham Sci-Tech students – Photo: Reuven Stahl

The Israeli team, which calls itself the Y Team and comprises some 30 Yeruham Sci-Tech students, was represented at the competition by Racheli Amar (10th grade), Itai Seif (ninth grade), and their mentor, Reuven Stahl, who traveled to Highland Park in Chicago with the help of the Science, Technology and Space Ministry.

Competitors in this year’s challenge were asked to build and program an 18-inch by 18-inch robot that would pick up scattered whiffle balls and place them in tubes of varying heights of up to 90 centimeters (35 inches). The robot had to move completely autonomously for 30 seconds, after which the team could control it for two minutes.

The Israeli team developed a creative solution: A robot that holds the tallest tube, which provides the highest points, and suctions the balls in.

This was the first time an Israeli team participated in this competition. At the beginning of the tournament, Hatikva, Israel’s national anthem, was played.

In addition to winning the top prize, the Israeli team won two additional trophies — one for creativity and another for their success as first-time participators.

The FIRST Tech Challenge is designed to allow students in grades seven to 12 to compete head to head, using a sports model. Teams are responsible for designing, building, and programming their robots to compete in an alliance format against other teams. The robot kit is reusable year after year and is programmed using a variety of languages.


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