FIRST Robotics Regional Event Takes Place March 9–10 at RIT Field House

Student teams integrate Xbox 360 Kinect into robots for ‘Rebound Rumble’

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A. Sue Weisler

The annual FIRST Robotics competition brings together high school students, faculty, mentors, friends and fans to the technology Super Bowl. Teams from the Northeast will compete in one of the largest regional meets to determine representatives to the national championship in St. Louis in April.

Fans of the Xbox 360 Kinect and FIRST Robotics will bring their distinctive robots to the Gordon Field House and Activity Center on the campus of Rochester Institute of Technology for the 2012 Finger Lakes Regional FIRST Robotics competition. More than 40 teams will compete in “Rebound Rumble,” the name of this year’s competition.

March 7: Teams unload robots, 6–8 p.m.

March 8: Registration and practice rounds, 8:30 a.m.–4:30 p.m.

March 9: Opening remarks, 9–9:30 a.m.

FIRST competition preliminary rounds, 9:30 a.m.–4:45 p.m.

Awards, 5–5:45 p.m.

March 10: Opening remarks, 9–9:30 a.m.

FIRST seeded matches and final rounds, 9:30 a.m.–4:30 p.m.

Awards, 4:45–5:30 p.m.

The event is free and open to the public for the main event, March 9 and 10.

Microsoft Corp. donated Kinect sensors for the standard robotics kits that all teams used to build this year’s competition robots. Over the past six weeks, teams have incorporated the popular technology into robots that will have to score as many basketballs in hoops on the game field as possible during the two-minute matches. “Rebound Rumble” is played between two alliances of three teams. Teams with the most baskets receive higher points and can be awarded bonus points if the robots are balanced on bridges located at the center of field at the end of the match.

“The Finger Lakes Regional attracts some of the best teams in the Northeast and Canada,” says Glen Pearson, regional director. “We are anticipating an intense, high-energy event.”

This year, four new teams from the Rochester and surrounding area will compete, including Honeoye, Albion, Massena and Oneonta high schools.

Last year, the Finger Lakes Region was represented by Churchville-Chili High School, the 2011 Finger Lakes Regional Chairman’s Award winner. (Chairman’s Awards are given to one team from each regional that best exemplifies the FIRST spirit of cooperation and gracious professionalism. It is the organization’s most prestigious award.) Other New York state representatives were Palmyra-Macedon High School and Notre Dame High School in Elmira, N.Y., the Rookie All-Star Award team for 2011.

FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) is an international sporting event and technology competition. More than 2,300 teams of high school students will compete in the 2012 FIRST Robotics Competition. Regional and district events are held in the U.S., Canada and Israel. Winners from regional competitions will participate in the FIRST Championship event April 26–28 in St. Louis.

Note: Complete event schedule and information about the new competition challenge can be found at and