FIRST Idaho Robotics Competition Regional 

Domo arigato.

Sergei Butorin

Domo arigato.

When the word "robot" was coined in 1920, it meant "forced worker," translated from the Czech word robota or robotnik. Today, we don't think of robots as slaves—rather, they're helpers, partners and pop culture characters. Provided they don't go all Terminator on us, some even think of them as eventual saviors.

Robots will fill Taco Bell Arena for the FIRST Idaho Regional Robotics Competition. Teams from 35 high schools will run their 'bots through a series of challenges, hoping to advance to the nationals April 19-22 in Houston and April 26-29 in St. Louis.

Competitors worked for six weeks to design, build, program and test their robots, which this year are based on a steampunk theme. Watch them in action starting at 9 a.m. both days with the finals from 1:30-4:30 p.m. on Saturday.

8 a.m., FREE. Taco Bell Arena, 1401 Bronco Lane, 208-426-1900,

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