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Who cares about basketball when there are robots to watch?

The Seattle regionals for the FIRST high-school robotics competition start Friday morning at the Qwest Field Events Center in Seattle, leading up to the championship rounds on Saturday afternoon.

Competing to advance to the national championships in St. Louis will be 83 teams from Washington state and 17 others from New Hampshire, Alaska, Oregon, California, and Turkey. (Yes, Turkey.)

It’s free and open to the public, and it’s a pretty incredible display of robotic wizardry, ingenuity and teamwork by some very motivated and smart students. See the video above from my visit today for the practice rounds. I also spent some time talking to the teams in the pits, where the students were preparing their machines.

FIRST is an acronym for “For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology.” The non-profit was founded by Dean Kamen, best known as the inventor of the Segway.

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