While some may have migrated south for the winter, FIRST® robotics team from across the Midwest will migrate to the frozen tundra for the inaugural Great Northern Regional at the Alerus Center in Grand Forks, March 1-3, hosted by the Great Northern Regional Planning Committee with mentors from Team 5172, Team 876, and Team 4818.
“We (team #5172) are excited to be a part of the planning committee who are bringing FIRST Robotics to the area,” said Mary Anderson, Team #5172 Coach. “With Grand Forks being a destination city for northwest Minnesota and eastern North Dakota, we hope that it will offer the opportunity for team sponsors and community members to see what FIRST is all about. We encourage you to come to this free event with your children, grandchildren, or area friends to experience a FIRST robotics event.”
At this regional event, high school robotics teams will have the opportunity to showcase their hard work after six intense weeks of designing and building an original robot in this FIRST® Robotics Competition (www.firstinspires.org).
At the Alerus Center, 47 teams of students and engineering and technical mentors, from Minnesota, North Dakota, Iowa, Wisconsin, and Missouri, will demonstrate their skill for science, mathematics, and technology. They will compete for honors and recognition that reward design excellence, competitive play, sportsmanship, and high-impact partnerships between schools, businesses, and communities.
Founded by inventor Dean Kamen, who introduced the Slingshot ™ water purification system and the “Luke” robotic prosthetic arm, FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) was created to inspire an appreciation of science and technology in young people, their schools, and their communities.
“FIRST robotics is much more than a robot. It give students the opportunity to be a part of a small business,” Anderson said. “It builds a team from a group of students of many interests and strengths, encouraging them to work with mentors to grow as young adults in all areas of STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) while being a gracious professional.”
Gracious Professionalism® is a way of doing things that encourages high-quality work, emphasizes the value of others, and respects individuals and the community.
The FIRST Robotics Competition anticipates 3,650 teams in the U.S. and 26 other countries worldwide to compete in 63 Regional Events, 85 District Events, and 10 District Championships. The 47 teams at the Alerus Center are competing to earn a spot at the international FIRST® Championship, scheduled for April 18-21 at the George R. Brown Convention Center in Houston, Texas, and April 25-28 at the Cobo Center in Detroit, Michigan.
FIRST Power Up ℠ ,the 2018 FIRST Robotics Competition game, finds teams trapped in an 8-bit video game. Each three-team alliance has three ways to help defeat the boss: Tipping the scale or alliance’s switch in their favor to earn points, exchanging power cubes for power ups (force, boost, and levitate) to gain a timed temporary advantage during the match, and climbing the scale tower to face the boss. The alliance with the highest score at the end of the match, which includes autonomous and teleoperated periods, defeats the boss and wins the game.
Over the six-week timeframe, students work with professional engineering mentors to design a robot that solves a problem using a Kit of Parts and a standard set of rules. Once these young inventors create the robot, their teams participate in regional competitions that measure the effectiveness of each robot, the power of collaboration, and the determination of students.
FIRST fosters more than a competitive spirit within the students and mentors and between the teams.
“It (FIRST) also involves a team who works on the basis of ‘co-opertition,’ building relationships between other teams as well as competing against them at the same time,” Anderson said. “It works to push all mentors and students to be the best they can be.”
As Anderson explained, this regional would not be possible without the 150 plus volunteers and judges, the students and mentors, and the support of area sponsors. FIRST Robotics Great Northern Regional sponsors and volunteers come from some of the most highly regarded organizations in the area. These sponsors provide resources, including time and talent from professional mentors, services, equipment, financial contributions, and volunteers.
The Great Northern Regional sponsors are designated into different groups. The UND Center for Innovation, and Marvin Windows and Doors are the “Leaders in Technology” sponsors. Andeavor, Digi-Key Corporation, Polaris, and John Deere are the “Captains in Innovation” sponsors. The Grand Forks Visitors Bureau is the “Friend of the Future” sponsor.
Robotics teams are “powering up” their robots in the frozen tundra this March for the FIRST Great Northern Regional. Migrate to the Alerus Center to check it out.
Accomplished inventor Dean Kamen founded FIRST® (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) in 1989 to inspire an appreciation of science and technology in young people. Based in Manchester, N.H., FIRST designs accessible, innovative programs to build self-confidence, knowledge, and life skills while motivating young people to pursue opportunities in science, technology, and engineering. With support from over 200 of the Fortune 500 companies and more than $50 million in college scholarships, the not-for-profit organization hosts the FIRST® Robotics Competition for students in Grades 9-12; FIRST® Tech Challenge for Grades 7-12; FIRST® LEGO® League for Grades 4-8; and FIRST® LEGO® League Jr. for Grades K-4. To learn more about FIRST, go to www.firstinspires.org .