MVCC to host FIRST Tech Challenge statewide Robotics Championship

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UTICA

Mohawk Valley Community College will host the FIRST (For Inspiration of Science and Technology) Tech Challenge Robotics Championship on Sunday, March 6, in the Robert R. Jorgensen Center Field House on the college’s Utica campus, 1101 Sherman Drive. The competition is free and open to the public from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Masks are required for all attendees.

Twenty-eight teams — from as far away as Buffalo, Potsdam, Corning, and Westchester County, and as close as Clinton—have successfully advanced from eight qualifying competitions that FIRST@MVCC organized all over New York State. These FIRST Tech Challenge teams, comprised of students in grades seven through 12, collaborate on designing, fabricating, programming, and constantly improving their robots over the course of the season. Teams earn judged awards based on robot performance and control, innovation, and documentation of their engineering design process, including during the championship.

During the competition and in 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 barriers and race against time to load, deliver, and balance rubber ducks, cubes, and balls in designated areas on the 12’x12’ playing field.

Matches start with a 30-second autonomous period in which robots operate using only pre-programmed instructions and sensor inputs. The following two minutes is a driver-controlled/tele-operated period using game controllers. Points are gained when scoring elements are delivered to correct areas and the varying levels of an unbalanced multi-tiered container and then balancing it.

MVCC has been a FIRST partner organization since 2020, serving 140 FIRST Tech Challenge teams of over 1,400 students throughout the New York-Excelsior region, which represents teams in all of New York State excluding Long Island and New York City.

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.

For more information about FIRST Tech Challenge, visit mvcc.edu/firstrobotics.

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