Continuing an 18-year tradition, local high school FIRST® Robotics teams, The LuNaTeCs from Carneys Point and The Miracle Workerz of Wilmington will host over 40 mid-Atlantic teams, all part of the FIRST Robotics Competition and the FIRST Tech Challenge, on Saturday, October 20 for the Duel on the Delaware. The annual pre-season robotics competition will run in Davidow Hall at Salem Community College in Carneys Point from 9 a.m.to 4 p.m. Families are encouraged to attend this free event.
The FIRST Robotics Competition (FRC) brings STEM and sportsmanship together, with indoor field games designed for 120-lb. student-built robots. FIRST PowerUP, the 2018 game, requires alliances of three robots to grab and place cubes the size of milk crates on large balances to score points. At the end of the match, robots try to lift themselves off the ground for more points. Off-season competitions help to introduce new team members to the FIRST competition format, and give the 2018 robots a few last spins on the field before the teams start building for the 2019 season in January.
Robots are built in a six-and-a-half-week timeframe in January and February. Students work alongside technical professionals to design, prototype, build, program, and test industrial-strength robots to complete in the annual FIRST competition. Local district competitions occur in March. Successful regional teams are invited to the World Championship in April, where hundreds of robot teams around the world face off.
The FIRST Tech Challenge (FTC) is another high school competition mirroring FRC, but with smaller robots and playing fields, which are more easily adapted into a school curriculum.
At the Duel event, FIRST Tech Challenge teams will work on their robots to compete in the current game, “Rover Ruckus.” FTC team members can also participate in a series of workshops and training sessions where regional robotics team members learn Java programming, Android App development, 3D printing and other STEM skills.
The LuNaTeCs and The Miracle Workerz are in their 21st and 20th seasons, respectively, of shaping future scientists, engineers, and programmers through robotic competition.