In a footrace, “Star Wars” droid R2-D2 wouldn’t stand a chance against the robots built by San Mateo County’s youngest engineers.
“He’s the highest-performing robot at the lowest cost,” said a proud Kevin Chen, 16, animation manager for the Mills Robotics Team.
The Mills team entered speedy El Toro, built on a $400 budget, into the FIRST Robotics Competition this weekend at San Jose State University’s Event Center.
Teams of up to 20 students spent more than a month constructing remote-controlled robots that can pick up and carry inflatable balls while racing around a track.
Mills was one of three San Mateo County high schools involved in the competition. Aragon entered a robot called The Faustinator and Menlo-Atherton entered Ma Bear.
Teams raise funds for parts and competition fees. Aragon has marketers and public-relations representatives along with its engineers. The team prints a newsletter as a progress report for sponsors.
“We don’t just learn how to create a robot, we learn to create an image for ourselves,” said Katie Ward, an Aragon teacher and team adviser.