With the help of We Energies employees, the “Radioactive Pyros” robotics team from the Hamilton School District in Waukesha County, Wisconsin, has qualified for a state robotics championship. The group recently visited a We Energies meter shop and learned how a meter is tested and how meter covers are washed in an ultrasonic washing machine.

The nine team members, who are fifth through eighth grade students from Templeton Middle School and Silver Spring Intermediate School, are in the First Lego League of the Charger Robotics program. Each year, First Lego League presents teams with a different challenge. This year’s theme was “Super Powered.”

The Pyros team developed the Neighborhood Energy Monitor, or “NEMO” app, to encourage friendly competition in communities to help residents save energy in an effort to reduce strain on the power grid. The app, which is currently in prototype phase, essentially gamifies saving energy. We Energies employees provided guidance to the team for their app.

Sister teams of the Pyros tackled a variety of energy-related problems with unique solutions, such as the invention of shoes that create energy with each step, which can be accessed from a USB port in the shoe. Its other sister team is working on creating an energy curriculum to educate students.

There were 209 teams competing in Wisconsin this year, and the Radioactive Pyros advanced through Regionals and Sectionals, winning awards such as the First Place Robot Design Award and the Second Place Champions Award. They were also nominated for the Innovation Project Award and Core Value Award. The team is one of 24 that will be competing in the State Championship in Madison on Feb. 4.