240 South Carolina Students on FIRST® Tech Challenge Robotics Teams Compete in Championship Event

(Columbia, SC, February 26, 2022) – 240 middle and high school students from South Carolina will gather to compete in the state’s Championship event as part of FIRST® Tech Challenge, an exciting, mentor-based program that is one of several program offerings from FIRST®. FIRST is a robotics community that prepares young people for the future and has a mission as a global non-profit to make STEM education more accessible and fun for students ages PreK-18.

After spending several months designing, building, and programming, teams will come together from all over South Carolina to compete in a culminating Championship event that will include remote judging, inspections, qualification and elimination matches, and an awards ceremony. The South Carolina FIRST® Tech Challenge Championship will take place on Saturday, February 26th at Dreher High School with opening ceremonies at 9:30 am and the final robot matches and Awards Ceremony starting at approximately 5:30 pm.

The 2021-2022 FIRST Tech Challenge season is called FREIGHT FRENZY presented by Raytheon Technologies. During a time when new challenges are emerging daily to disrupt our global transportation systems, this challenge is exposing students to logistics and all the difficulties and constraints that can affect delivery of freight in a world-wide economy.

In this year’s robot challenge, teams work together to build a robot while learning to collaborate, communicate, and problem-solve as a team. The competition is played on a 12 ft. x 12 ft. square field. The object of the game is to attain a higher score than the opposing alliance by navigating a complex transportation system by traversing barriers and racing against time to load and deliver essential freight to where it is needed. Freight consists of boxes, balls, and rubber ducks that may be delivered to alliance specific or shared shipping hubs and storage areas to earn points. Teams must be careful to follow warehouse operations when moving cargo or they will receive a penalty. There are two alliances of two robots each – “red” and “blue.” Matches have two distinct periods of play: a 30-second autonomous period followed by a two-minute driver-controlled period. The last 30 seconds of the driver-controlled period is called the end game. Points are awarded for various autonomous tasks including using vision technology to read a “barcode” and earn bonus points for depositing pre-loaded cargo properly. During the end game, ducks may be “delivered” by robots by rotating loading docks.

Two teams competing in the tournament will earn advancement to the FIRST® Tech Challenge World Championship in Houston, Texas, April 20-23, 2022 by either their robot ranking or for earning a judged award.

FIRST® Tech Challenge teams build and program robots using an Android based control system by programming in Java or using other software applications. They have a wide variety of building materials available to them, and they design their robot to complete scoring tasks along with an alliance partner. Some teams use 3-D modeling software to design their robot virtually before building it in order to reduce the number of design iterations. In addition to robot related skills, students also gain experience in raising funds, designing and marketing their team brand, and doing outreach to share STEM with their community. Students who participate in FIRST® Tech Challenge are eligible for over $80 million in college scholarships provided by participating universities and sponsors. Learn more about the program at www.firstinspires.org/robotics/ftc

The South Carolina FIRST® Tech Challenge Championship is free and open to the public, and anyone interested in learning more, starting a team, volunteering, or mentoring with FIRST® Tech Challenge is encouraged to attend. Masks will be required for all participants and attendees, and a health screening and arm banding will be completed upon entry. Food will be available for purchase on site, and the robot action will be exciting. Come cheer on these hard-working robotics students as they work to become a generation of global citizens who are ready and willing to solve difficult challenges.

For more information or to volunteer, contact FIRST SC ‘s FIRST Tech Program Delivery Partner, Linda Stewart (linda.stewart@firstsouthcarolina.org).

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