Robotic teams prepare their ‘airships’ in FIRST Robotics Finger Lakes Regional March 17-18

Annual contest features local and regional high school competitors for 26th season of FIRST competitions

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Robotic “adventure clubs” are mobilizing for Steamworks, the 2017 FIRST Robotics competition. This year, 49 high school teams from New York, Ohio and Canada will meet for the Finger Lakes Regional on March 17-18 at the Gordon Field House and Activities Center at Rochester Institute of Technology.

FIRST Steamworks involves two alliances that act as adventure clubs from an era in which technology relied on steam power to prepare airships for the ultimate long distance race. Each three-team alliance scores points and prepares to take flight by adding fuel, characterized by neon-colored balls, that are vaulted into boilers, building steam pressure. Other challenges on the playing field include gathering up gears to start the rotors and boarding robots onto their airships. The adventure club with the highest score at the end of the match is the best prepared for the race and wins.

“This year’s game is another interesting, quirky collection of challenges. There are so many more scoring opportunities for the teams, and the need to coordinate their robots to start airships and rotors on the field will be fun to watch and a challenge to do,” said Glen Pearson, FIRST Robotics Finger Lakes Regional director.

Teams begin practice rounds at noon on Thursday, March 16, in the Field House. Competition begins on Friday, March 17, with opening ceremonies at 8:30 a.m. and first matches at 9 a.m., concluding the first day of matches at 5:45 p.m. Saturday’s competition takes place from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. with awards being distributed at 5:30 p.m.

The event is free and open to the general public.

The full schedule of events is:

Friday, March 17

  • 8:30 a.m.: Opening ceremony with Bill Destler, RIT president, and James Bedard, RIT mechanical engineering student and FIRST Robotics alumnus
  • 9 a.m.-noon and 1-5:45 p.m.: Qualifying Matches

Awards for FIRST Robotics Regional Volunteer of the Year and the Regional Woody Flowers Award, which recognizes a mentor’s ability to lead, inspire and empower individuals on his or her team, will be given at the end of Friday’s matches.

Saturday, March 18

  • 8:30 a.m.: Opens with Thomas Van Strydonck, Monroe County Deputy County Executive
  • 9 a.m.-noon and 1-4:30 p.m.: Qualifying and Final Matches
  • 4:30 p.m.: Closing Ceremony, FIRST Robotics Regional Leaders and Team AWARDS