The Roboteers, a robotics team of middle and high school students sponsored by West Virginia Universitys Department of Physics in the Eberly College of Arts and Sciences, competed in the FIRST World Festival Lego League robotics championships April 12-14 in Atlanta.

The contest is organized by Lego and FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology). FIRST was created to inspire young people’s interest and participation in science and technology.

With a high score of 332 out of a possible 400, the Roboteersrobot finished in the top half of all teams in the robot performance event.

Ninety-four teams from the United States and other countries including China, Japan, Australia, Germany, Brazil, Peru, Spain, Canada, Denmark, Great Britain and Mexico competed in the two-day event.

Five Morgantown students are on the team, Shannon Ballard and Haley Tucker, both of Suncrest Middle School, Adam Raese of South Middle School, Jordan Roof of the Morgantown Learning Academy and Luke Scime of Morgantown High School.

The team was coached by Earl Scime, chair of WVU s Department of Physics, Phil Tucker, electronics specialist for the department and former team member Tegan Walker.

The FIRST LEGO League competition asks teams of students ages 9-14 to demonstrate problem-solving and research skills, creative thinking, teamwork, competitive play, sportsmanship and a sense of community as they build robots that can perform the functions required in the competition.

The contest consists of a research project and presentation, a teamwork exercise and a robot field competition.

The theme for this year wasNano Quest,and Roboteers looked for ideas for the research portion of the competition in WVU s Department of Physics, meeting with researchers working in nanosciences and taking tours of their labs.

For the teamwork judging, the team was split in two sections and one part of the team had to give instructions to the other part on how to duplicate a structure they could not see.

The team proposed two implementations of nanotechnology, which they namedMood HairandLength-Changing Clothing.

Mood Hair, a nanoparticle hair spray, would change the color of a persons hair according to fluctuations in their scalp temperature. Length-Changing Clothing would utilize carbon nanotubes to change shorts into pants and long-sleeve shirts into short-sleeve shirts at the press of a button.

In addition to points gained for completing tasks in the arena, the teams were judged on sportsmanship, presentation, research depth and understanding.

Sponsoring the teams travel to Atlanta, equipment and registration fees were the Eberly College of Arts and Sciences, the Department of Physics, Mylan Pharmaceuticals, The Dominion Post, Morgantown Learning Academy, Granny Gear and East-West Printing.

For more information on the team, contact Scime at Earl.Scime@mail.wvu.edu . For more information on the competition, visithttp://www.firstlegoleague.org/default.aspx?pid=21380.