Last year’s P-Tech robotics team, via Facebook

If you weren’t too busy taking in some burlesque to watch the State of the Union last night, you may have heard President Obama name-check a little something called  P-Tech High School in Crown Heights. P-Tech (Pathways in Technology) is a two-year-old experimental early college high school run by a collaboration of city public schools, CUNY and IBM, in which high schoolers graduate in six years with a dual high school diploma and associate bachelor’s degree in computer science or engineering.

They’ve racked up a lot of praise for the innovative way in which they prepare students for careers in science. which is why Obama singled them out as a school that helps kids get ahead. The students are all paired with IBM mentors, college professors teach some of their classes and they work on cool projects like making ferris wheels in Algebra. And they have robots.

Or at least, they’re making robots. Last year, their robotics team built a little mechanical monster for the annual New York City Regional FIRST Robotics Competition at the Jacob Javits Center. Sadly, they didn’t win, but their robot sounds pretty cool. Named DAN (for Deadly Autonomous Ninja, because these kids aren’t messing around), the little guy was an appropriate precursor to the Barclays Center’s Brooklyn domination — it was able to roll across the floor, pick up basketballs and shoot them into hoops.

The robotics team, which gets help from a PhD candidate at NYU Poly, is expected to be back at next month’s competition, though this robot’s still a mystery — a mechanical Lena Dunham, perhaps?

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