LEWISTON — For 38 teams of robot builders and drivers from across the East Coast, the Androscoggin Bank Colisee may be the best place to win a shot at the national championship for their Frisbee-flinging robots.

The Colisee will host the inaugural Pine Tree Regional Competition, part of the international FIRST Robotics Competition, this weekend. The event combines high tech with a riotous competition.

“It’s very fast paced, all the time,” said Jamee Luce, co-chair of the Pine Tree Regional Planning Committee and coach for Team 2648 from Oakland. “There definitely will be tons and tons of Frisbees being launched. And there will be a couple of robots high in the air, like nine or 10 feet up, climbing the towers.”

The event also draws costumed mentors and spectators cheering the event and dancing.

“There’s dancing, crazy headpieces and hats, and lots and lots of loud music and team spirit,” Luce said.

Teams had a month to design and build a robot that can throw Frisbee discs accurately into targets set around a 27- by 54-foot field. The harder the target is to reach, the better the score.

They have to contend with other robots, which can block and push opponents as they battle to collect and throw discs.

Finally, the robots need to climb to the top of a pyramid tower in the center of the playing field and power down, locking themselves into place. The higher they climb, the better the score.

“Some teams have designed smaller robots, and the only thing they do is climb to the highest point on the pyramid and claim the highest points,” Luce said. “Most do a combination, throwing as many Frisbees as they can, climbing as high as they are able.”

Six of the teams from Lewiston will qualify to go to the championships April 23-26 in St. Louis, Mo., to compete against the best teams from the U.S. and Canada.

The top three finishers will advance, as well was the winners of three special awards — the Rookie All-Stars, the Engineering Inspiration and the Chairman’s Award.

Teams begin moving their robots into the Colisee on Wednesday night. They’ll have Thursday to practice with their robots and make last-minute changes.

Qualifying matches begin at 9 a.m. Friday and run throughout the day and into Saturday morning. Finals are scheduled at 1:30 p.m. Saturday.

Most teams have 20 members, mostly high schoolers, who do the bulk of the work designing, building and programming the robots. The robots are programmed to work on their own for the first 15 seconds. After that, members of the team step forward to radio controls and drive their ‘bots remotely.

The members are joined by an equal number of teachers, parents and mentors.

The Pine Tree Regional is bringing 14 teams from around Maine, eight teams from New Hampshire, six from Connecticut, six from Massachusetts, one team each from Pennsylvania and Rhode Island and two teams from Ontario to Lewiston.

“We hope this will open even more communities to us,” Luce said. “We’re hoping we can inspire other schools or youth groups to start teams or to inspire adults to step up and help mentor some of these teams.”

The FIRST competition — the acronym stands for “For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology” — was created by inventor Dean Kamen in 1989 to promote science and engineering education. Last year, 2,548 teams from around the world competed in FIRST events and competitions.

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