MTSU’s Alumni Memorial Gym and parts of the Voorhies Engineering Technology building will be the filled with technology, energy and excitement as 30 robotics teams from across Tennessee will be competing in the second TNFIRST First Tech Challenge regional competition Saturday Feb. 8.
This event, hosted by the MTSU Department of Engineering Technology in partnership with tech advocacy nonprofit TNFIRST, challenges teams of seventh- through 12th-graders to design, build, program and operate robots in head-to-head competition.
Opening ceremonies begin at 10 a.m. Qualification matches begin at 10:30 a.m. and continue throughout the afternoon. Elimination rounds will begin at 5 p.m. and the awards and closing ceremonies are planned for 6:15 p.m.
This year’s competition theme is SKYSTONE presented by Qualcomm.
Teams scheduled to compete span from Memphis to Knoxville. There will be Murfreesboro-area teams competing as well, including the Tennessee Robotics Club and Central Magnet School’s Magnetude Gold and Magnetude Black teams.
FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) was founded in 1989 by Dean Kamen, an inventor, entrepreneur and tireless advocate for science and technology. It is now the leading, not-for-profit science, technology, engineering and math, or STEM, engagement programs for students worldwide.
TNFIRST is focused on connecting K-12 students to the world of FIRST robotics and events. Mike Wehrenberg of Knoxville is chairman.
MTSU and the engineering technology department are honored to bring this celebration of science, engineering and technology to the MTSU campus, said Vishwas Bedekar, interim chair for engineering technology.
Up to 15 students and two to three mentors comprise each team. Participants and their robots compete within a 12-by-12-foot playing field. The robot’s starting maximum dimensions, in inches, is 18 wide, 18 long and 18 high.
The robotics kit is powered by Android technology, features professional-quality software options and includes 11 motors, nine sensors, two game controllers, wireless communications, metal gears and all the building materials participants need.
The mission of TNFIRST is to inspire young people to be science and technology leaders and innovators by engaging them in exciting mentor-based programs across the state that foster well-rounded life skills including self-confidence, communication and leadership. To learn more, visit https://tnfirst.org.
— Randy Weiler (Randy.Weiler@mtsu.edu)