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High School Robotics Teams Preparing for Challenges at Rose-Hulman’s FIRST Regional

March 21, 2013

With names like Kil-A-Bytes, Metal Cow, and Robrioles, approximately 50 teams of high-school students from seven states are planning to participate in the Crossroads Regional FIRST Robotics Competition on April 4-6 at Rose-Hulman.

  Robot Battle: Robots created by high school teams will work together and against each other to score points during the Crossroads Regional FIRST Robotics Competition at Rose-Hulman on April 4-6.

Rose-Hulman will for the first time host this union of sport and mind, introducing young innovators to real-world robotics challenges.  The event also changes the way students see engineering, science, and technology.

“This is as close to ‘real-world engineering’ as a young student can get,” said Crossroads Regional Chair Carlotta Berry, Ph.D., associate professor of electrical and computer engineering at Rose-Hulman and a FIRST Robotics competition judge since 2007. She adds, “The excitement that this event generates in young people about science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) is unlike anything I have ever seen before.”

High school teams learned of this year's theme in January and will have had six weeks to build a robot for the Crossroads Regional, relying on local sponsors for equipment. Teams receive guidance from professional engineers, teachers, and parents throughout the design and construction process. Many engineers will join college students and professors in serving as regional event volunteers.

This year’s game, ULTIMATE ASCENT, is played between two Alliances featuring robotics from three teams. Each Alliance competes by scoring as many flying discs as possible into goals at opposite ends of the large playing field during two-minute and 15-second matches. Discs landing into higher goals score Alliances more points. Then, matches end with robots attempting to climb up pyramids located near the middle of the field.  (Watch a video that introduces the ULTIMATE ASCENT game and rules.)

FIRST isn’t about competing, it’s about cooperating and recognizing that if you have the right tools, you’ll be able to make this world a better place for yourself and for the country,” stated FIRST Founder Dean Kamen, president of DEKA Research and Development who received an honorary degree from Rose-Hulman in 2012. He added, “There is no stimulus package that will have as much return as stimulating a bunch of kids to become the workforce of the future, the problem solvers and the creators of the future.”

Dedicated to hands-on learning in undergraduate STEM education, Rose-Hulman provides the perfect environment for a campus full of young people excited about robot designs.

“Our campus is getting excited to welcome these future engineers and scientists, along with their family members, teachers and friends,” said Rose-Hulman Interim President Robert A. Coons. “We know these visiting teenagers will feel at home on campus since it is not uncommon to see robots cruising throughout our hallways.”

Half of the teams participating in the Crossroads Regional are coming from Indiana, being sponsored by Rolls Royce, GM Powertrain, Allison Transmission, Precise Path Robotics, the Naval Surface Warfare Center-Crane, NASA, Chrysler, Delphi, and jcpenney. Teams are also expected from Ohio (8), Illinois (6), Missouri (6), Wisconsin (2), West Virginia (2), and Kentucky (1).

Regional events are scheduled to begin in Rose-Hulman’s Hulbert Arena of the Sports and Recreation Center on Thursday, April 4, and continue through Saturday, April 6.

Winners may advance to the National FIRST Championships on April 24-27 in St. Louis.


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Regional Schedule of Events

Sports and Recreation Center
Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology


8:30 a.m. – Pits and Machine Shop Open
8:30 a.m. – Registration and Robot Inspection Begin
10 a.m.–Noon – Practice Rounds
Noon-1 p.m. --- Lunch
1-4:30 p.m. – Practice Rounds


8 a.m. – Pits and Machine Shop Open
8:30-9 a.m. – Opening Ceremonies
9 a.m.-Noon – Qualification Matches
Noon-1 p.m. – Lunch
1-5:45 p.m. – Qualification Matches
5:45-6:30 p.m. – Awards Ceremony


8:00 a.m. – Pits and Machine Shop Open
8:30 a.m. – 9 a.m. – Opening Ceremonies
9 a.m. - 12:15 p.m. – Qualification Matches
12:15-12:30 p.m. – Alliance Selection
12:30-1:30 p.m. -- Lunch
1:30-4:30 p.m. – Final Rounds
4:30-530 p.m. – Awards Ceremony