Robots set for action Jan. 27 at Penn State York

FTC robotics competition features 36 teams of middle and high school students from across the state
Robotics Competition 2017

Robots will fill the gym in the Joe and Rosie Ruhl Student Community Center at Penn State York on Saturday, Jan. 27 when the campus again hosts the  FTC South Central PA Regional Qualifier robotics competition.  Thirty-six teams of middle and high school students will spend the day competing and playing the game First Relic Recovery.  The competition is open to the public for viewing with opening ceremonies at 10:45 a.m.

Credit: Barbara Dennis

First Relic Recovery is the name of the game when 36 teams of middle and high school students from across Pennsylvania participate in the FTC (FIRST Tech Challenge) South Central PA Regional Qualifier, robotics competition, from 7 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 27, at Penn State York. The competition takes place in the Joe and Rosie Ruhl Student Community Center on campus, and is free and open to the public. More than 500 attendees, including competitors and spectators, are expected to attend.  

Opening ceremonies are at 10:45 a.m., followed by competitions throughout the day. Prior to the ceremony, teams will have an opportunity to get organized, register their robots, and prepare for competition. This is the eighth time the campus has hosted an FTC event.

Nine teams from the local area, Harrisburg, Lancaster, Mechanicsburg, Red Lion and York, are a part of the competition. They are: Scibot1and Scibot 2, Harrisburg, Pennsylvania; Blue Streaks, Cougars, and Metal Works from Lancaster, Pennsylvania; Technion from Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania; Jayborgs from Red Lion, Pennsylvania; and GearHounds and TechSpark from York, Pennsylvania. See the complete list of participants and those on the waiting list.

First Relic Recovery is the game teams will play at the competition. The object of the game is to attain a higher score than the opposing alliance by scoring Glyphs into the Cryptoboxes and completing rows, columns, and cipher; transferring Relics to the Recovery Zone; retrieving Jewels; parking on the Balancing Stones; and navigating to specific parts of the Playing Field.

There is an autonomous and driver-controlled period to each match. Check out explanation of the game or view the video to see how the game works. 

Marshall F. Coyle, associate professor of engineering at Penn State York, is the volunteer coordinator for the event, and is responsible for filling the many positions necessary to make the competition possible.  It was his idea to bring the competition to campus eight years ago. In 2016, the campus sponsored the championship round rather than the qualifier.

Penn State York students, faculty, staff and business members from the York community work as volunteers during the competition filling a variety of roles from judges to field tech advisers, scorekeepers, software inspectors and more.

The acronym FIRST means For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology, and the organization was founded in 1989 by Dean Kamen, an accomplished inventor, who wanted to inspire young people to appreciate science and technology.

Guided by adult coaches and mentors, students develop science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) skills and practice engineering principles, while realizing the value of hard work, innovation, and sharing ideas. Participants have access to tens of millions of dollars in college scholarships

According to Thomas Zawislak, FIRST FTC affiliate partner, team members are part of an alliance trying to perform tasks on the field with their robots. The event emphasizes gracious professionalism; winning is nice but the design process and participant attitude are the important goals. Teams assist each other and members develop friendships and camaraderie throughout the competition.

Teams are judged on their sportsmanship, performance of their robots, completion of tasks, ability to follow rules, and a variety of other criteria.  Following a sports model, teams of middle and high school-aged students are challenged to design, build, and program a robot to play a floor game against other teams’ creations. 

For more information on the event sponsored by Penn State York, visit here. For information about FIRST, visit their Website.

Schedule for the Day
 7 a.m.      Volunteers Arrive and Check-in
 7:45 a.m.  Teams Arrive and Check-in
                  Robot and Field Inspection Begin

 8:20 a.m.  Judge Interviews Begin

 10:30 a.m. Drivers Meeting On Competition Field

 10:45 a.m. Opening Ceremonies

 11 a.m.      Qualification Matches Begin

 12:30 p.m. Lunch Break

1 p.m.         Qualification Matches Resume

 3:15 p.m.    Start Semifinals

 4:15 p.m.     Start Finals

 5 p.m.          Awards and Closing Ceremonies

 5:30 p.m.         Event Complete