Monday, April 29, 2013

Our Team 3003 Advances at the U.S. FIRST Robotics Competition

We have a winner.

For the past five years, IIS has sponsored a team made up of local high school students in the internationally renowned FIRST Robotics Competition (FRC). Thousands of groups compete across the country in regional matches during March to winnow down finalist to challenge one another in the World Championship in late April. And this year, we’re proud to announce, that our kids won the Rochester Regional and are going on to the finals.

In Rochester, our team (aligned with teams from Victor and Penfield) beat out 49 rivals in a match between student-built robots playing a game called Ultimate Ascent, in which competing alliances attempt to shoot as many Frisbee-style discs into goals as they can during a two-minute and fifteen-second match (please see images). Our own Chris Englert participates as a mentor with Team 3003.

FIRST stands for “For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology” and was founded by famous inventor Dean Kamen (the man who brought us the Segway scooter) in 1989 to foster interest in science and technology among young people. Sometimes called the varsity “Sport for the Mind,” FRC combines the excitement of sports with the rigors of science and technology. Under strict rules, limited resources, and time limits, teams of 25 students or more are challenged to raise funds, design a team “brand,” hone teamwork skills, and build and program robots to perform prescribed tasks against a field of competitors.  It’s as close to “real-world engineering” as a student can get. Volunteer professional mentors lend their time and talents to guide each team.

The benefits include:

     -Learn from professional engineers
     -Build and compete with a robot of their own design
     -Learn and use sophisticated software and hardware
     -Compete and cooperate in alliances and tournaments
     -Earn a place in the World Championship
     -Qualify for more than $16 million in college scholarships

The FIRST Championship will be held in St. Louis, Mo., on April 24-27, 2013, at the America’s Center Convention complex and Edward Jones Dome (where the NFL Rams play).

UPDATE: After the success in Rochester, some of the students we sponsor separately competed in the FIRST regional in Cleveland on March 30 (as a back-up plan originally). Forty students from the Canandaigua Academy (Team 3003) and ten mentors took the six-hour trip to Cleveland. They did well in the qualification matches, coming in 22nd out of 52 teams. Their performance during the qualifiers was not forgotten, as one of the top eight squads picked Team 3003 to be a part of its RED Alliance. This enabled Team 3003 to participate in the elimination matches. This round pitted the RED Alliance, consisting of three teams, against a BLUE Alliance, another three teams. The elimination matches started with eight alliances, four RED and four BLUE. Each alliance had to win two out of three matches not to be eliminated.

Due to difficulties during the second match with the Frisbee shooting-arm positioning system, aiming was difficult and Team 3003 did not secure the points they normally would have, so the Alliance did not win the first two matches and were eliminated.

Team 3003 is still headed to the world championship in St. Louis the last weekend in April.  Again, during the Rochester RIT Regional in March, Team 3003 was part of the winning alliance, which qualified the team to participate with over 200 teams from around the world. Englert (mentor for the team from IIS) commented, “The Buckeye Regional in Cleveland was just the experience the team needed in preparation for the intense competition they will encounter in St. Louis.” 

Team 3003 also won the Industrial Design Award given out by General Motors for having a design that held up very well during the competition during offense and defense.

Join us in congratulating these outstanding young people for their success so far – and wish them luck. 

No comments:

Post a Comment