Fuentek's Tech Transfer Blog

Here Comes the NC FIRST 2014 Robotics Competition

NC-FIRST-logoI’m heading back to the Dorton Arena in Raleigh as a judge for the 5th annual NC FIRST Robotics Regional Competition. If you’re local, come see for yourself what these amazing high school students have built in only 6 weeks! If you’re not, check out the live webcast Friday and Saturday via the Yeti team’s (#3506) channel.

The qualification matches are Friday from 9:00am to noon and 1:00pm to 5:45pm as well as on Saturday from 9:00am to noon. The final rounds are from 1:30pm to 4:30pm on Saturday.

FIRST = For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology

This year’s challenge is called Aerial AssistSM. As the video describes, individual teams are grouped into three-team alliances that try to put 24-inch balls through one of four goals, earning extra points if the play includes throwing the ball over a 5-foot high truss. Bonus points also are earned when members of an alliance assist each other in getting a ball into the goal – a great example of the coopertition that’s a core value of FIRST.

And lest you think this is all fun and games, consider this:

  • Participating students are eligible to apply for more than $19 million in scholarships from over 150 providers, including NC State University, NC A&T State University, and Eastern Carolina University.
  • Research shows that the FIRST Robotics Competitions provide an engaging, hands-on learning experience for participating youth and generate a wide range of positive outcomes, including increased interest in STEM, STEM-related careers, school success, and college-going. (Maybe some of these students will eventually wind up on Shark Tank – this week’s episode features kid and teen entrepreneurs.)
  • NC FIRST is part of the RTP Coalition for US2020 City Competition. US2020 aims to engage 20% of the STEM workforce in hands-on, project-based mentoring, giving 20 hours per person per year by the year 2020.

So stop by the Dorton Arena for this amazing free event! Or better yet, get involved with a FIRST event or team in your area.