Richard Wilde [left] shows off R2-Blue2 to the RSU 9 Board of Directors on Wednesday, March 15. R2-Blue2 boasts a bunch of features, including R2D2 signature beeps. Brian Ponce/Franklin Journal

FARMINGTON — Richard Wilde, instructor of computer technology at the Foster Career and Technical Education Center at Mt. Blue Campus, appeared before the Regional School Unit 9 Board of Directors on Wednesday, March 15, and he brought with him a robot dubbed “R2-Blue2”, an almost exact replica of R2D2 from Star Wars.

“R2 is a two-year project that [we] started on,” Wilde told the board. “Some of you guys might remember our old one, which was white and blue. The body of it was built in 2019 and it was built with 47 pieces of material that was glued together. That dome consisted of 24 pieces that was glued together.”

Wilde is referring to the previous version of R2-Blue2, which made in appearance in 2019 at several fundraising events and is the official mascot of Mt. Blue’s Blue Crew robotics team.

At the meeting, Wilde unveiled the new model, which boasts several upgrades and added features.

“We decided to build this one on our large format 3-D printers and the body is made up of actually three pieces,” he explained. “The dome is a single piece and then what the kids did is they took and designed the circuit using two AC relays that once you plug him into power, he runs his own 12 volt power supply and charges his batteries at the same time.”

“I think it’s important to emphasize that when Rich says ‘we’, it is ‘we’,” Superintendent Elkington stressed to the board. “This is not dominated by the adult. And when he’s talking about, you know, parts that don’t fit, he’s not the one directing.

“He gives them ideas,” Elkington continued. “He throws things out, and he says ‘well, fix it’. These kids are brainstorming, you know, doing a lot of the things that we want kids to do.”


R2-Blue2 lights up and beeps much like its big screen counterpart, but his purpose at the meeting was much more than just showing off.

Wilde submitted a field trip request for Blue Crew FIRST Robotics Competition team 6153 to visit Houston, Texas, for the FIRST [For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology] World Championship, which is scheduled for Wednesday, April 19, through Saturday, Apr. 22.

“We’re hoping to take R2 as our mascot to the World Championships in Houston, but now, in order to do that, there’s several things that need to happen,” Wilde said.

According to Wilde, Blue Crew needs to be invited in order to attend, which they are on their way to doing, with two events on the horizon. The team will be competing March 25-26 at New England District UNH Event in Durham, New Hampshire, and April 5-8 at New England FIRST District Championship in West Springfield, Massachusetts.

“Right now, after two weeks of events, we’re twenty-fourth in New England out of 282 teams,” Wilde said.

Wilde is confident Blue Crew will qualify, stating, “The kids really, really have got a wonderful robot. They’re out there right now, programming it so that we can animate many of the features on it.”

According to Wilde’s field trip form, he estimates the trip costing roughly $20,000, with air fare averaging roughly $600 per person. Making the trip will be 16 people – 13 students, Wilde and Kathy and Cam Hammond.

If all goes according to plan, the students are expected to depart on Wednesday, April 19, and return April 23. Wilde estimates $2,000 in district money will be used for the event, with the remaining expenses coming from fundraising and grants.

The board voted unanimously in favor of the field trip.

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