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MVCC to host regional youth robotics championship

Posted 3/2/23

Mohawk Valley Community College will host a regional FIRST Tech Challenge Robotics Qualifying Tournament Sunday, March 5.

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MVCC to host regional youth robotics championship


UTICA — Mohawk Valley Community College will host a regional FIRST (For Inspiration of Science and Technology) Tech Challenge Robotics Championship Tournament Sunday, March 5, in the Robert R. Jorgensen Center Field House, 1101 Sherman Drive. The competition is free and open to the public from 10 a.m. to 6:30 p.m.

The 28 Regional Championship-level youth robotics teams — from as far away as Buffalo, northern New York, Corning and Westchester County and as close as the Midtown Utica Community Center and Clinton — have been creating this competition season’s robots since September.

These FIRST Tech Challenge teams, comprised of students in grades seven through 12, collaborate on the design, fabrication, programming, testing and constant improvement of their robots as they compete in this season’s Powerplay game challenge. Teams earn prestigious judged awards based on robot performance and control, innovation, community outreach, connections with STEM professionals as mentors and the documentation of their engineering design process, including challenges they overcame during their journey.

The top two teams from this MVCC Regional Championship will advance to the FIRST World Championship held in Houston in April.

During each 2.5-minute match, teams strategize with an alliance partner team to achieve a common goal against another set of two teams. Four robots run on the tournament field at once. Teams and robots try to achieve the highest score by navigating a system of poles placed every two feet and race against time to deposit cones onto 16 poles on the 12’x12’ playing field.

Matches start with a 30-second autonomous period in which robots operate using only pre-programmed instructions coded in Java and sensor inputs. The following two minutes make up a driver-controlled/teleoperated period using game controllers. The most points are gained when the cone scoring elements are deposited onto the highest 3-foot poles.

MVCC has been a FIRST partner organization since 2020, serving 140 FIRST Tech Challenge teams of more than 1,400 students. MVCC also has supported FIRST by providing robotics teams with access to the college’s experienced engineering faculty, as well as facilities with the additive and subtractive manufacturing capacity needed to assist during robot builds. The partnership also introduces MVCC’s engineering programs to students in local high schools and provides a starting point and a clear path to a bachelor’s degree or career.

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