If you think kids don’t like hi-tech, you couldn’t be more wrong. Just come down to RIT this weekend and see otherwise.
It’s the FIRST Robotics Fingerlakes Regional held on the RIT campus. 30-some teams of High School Robotics teams come to play a complicated game that involved a mixture of competition and cooperation in just the right amounts.
Each team was given only six weks to build their robot and ship it off to the competition. Before that time, they weren’t even told what the game they have to play was.
This year’s game is a bit like a soccer or hockey game with the robots forming teams of three and throwing seven inch diameter Nerf balls through goals in the field. A 10-second opening period in which the robots must perform on their own without player direction, determines which alliance starts out on the offensive. That is the first of three 40 second periods where robots must either play offense or defense. The thid and final period is a fee-for-all where everyone is on offense.
It sound complex and it is. But add the action in the pits, where teams of mechanics, programmers, drivers and designers work, NASCAR-style, to keep their robots running for the next match.
Add the colorful uniforms, decorations, pep-rally cheering and team enthusiasm, and you have an exciting event that is unlike anything else.
The regional tournament is one of many being held across the country and even world-wide, in preparation for the national championship, held in Atlanta in April.