Columbia, SC – 230 middle and high school students from South Carolina are competing in the regional championship event as part of FIRST® Tech Challenge. FIRST, a robotics community that prepares young people for the future, is a global nonprofit with a mission to make STEM education more available and fun for students ages PreK-18. FIRST Tech Challenge is a widely accessible, mentor-based robotics program for grades 7 through 12 that is one of several program offerings from FIRST®. Guided by adult coaches and mentors, students develop STEM skills and practice engineering principles while realizing the value of hard work, innovation, and working as a team.
After spending several months designing, building, and programming, 24 South Carolina FIRST® Tech Challenge teams who earned advancement from their Qualifying Tournaments will come together from all over South Carolina to compete in the South Carolina Regional Championship on February 25th at Dreher High School with opening ceremonies at 9:30 am featuring the SC Council on Competitiveness (SC Competes) Boston Dynamics robotic dog, temporarily called “Spot”. While “Spot” was built to support companies in industrial applications, such as automated inspections and data capture, the SC Competes team and its partners will travel with “Spot” to schools and communities around South Carolina to show off the future of Artificial Intelligence, Industry 4.0 (and beyond!) technology, and other STEM-related career paths. Attendees will help launch the official naming competition for “Spot” at the opening ceremony. The final robot matches and Awards Ceremony will start at approximately 5:00 pm. The top teams competing in the tournament will earn advancement to the FIRST® Championship in April 2023.
The 2022-2023 FIRST® Tech Challenge season is called POWERPLAYSM presented by Raytheon Technologies. The season theme stems from the United Nations Sustainable Developmental Goal #7, which is focused on ensuring access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all. While participating in POWERPLAY, teams must focus on making the right energy decisions and find innovative ways to unlock their robot’s full potential as they race to build and complete circuits, testing the limits of power, performance, energy, and endurance.
FIRST® Tech Challenge teams build and program robots using an Android based control system by programming in Java or using other apps. They are exposed to 3-D modeling software to design their robot virtually before building them. For programming, students can use vison software and machine learning to help their robots navigate autonomously. 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 Regional 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. Food will be available for purchase on site, and the robot action is sure ENERGIZESM you. Come out and encourage these hard-working robotics students as they work to become a generation of global citizens who are ready and willing to solve difficult challenges and power our future forward. Contact SC FIRST® Tech Program Delivery Partner, Linda Stewart (firstname.lastname@example.org), for more information.
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