Ro­bot­ics squads to gather for FIRST Tech Chal­lenge event

Antelope Valley Press - - NEWS - VAL­LEY PRESS STAFF RE­PORT

PALM­DALE — Teams of mid­dle- and high-school stu­dents lo­cally and from across South­ern and Cen­tral Cal­i­for­nia will meet in ro­botic com­pe­ti­tion Satur­day and Sun­day for the FIRST Tech Chal­lenge In­terLeague Tour­na­ments at The Palm­dale Aero­space Academy.

The tour­na­ment will fea­ture 60 teams of 12- to 18-year-olds demon­strat­ing their prob­lem-solv­ing skills, cre­ative think­ing, team­work, com­pet­i­tive play, sports­man­ship and a sense of com­mu­nity.

The teams are part of FIRST, or For In­spi­ra­tion and Recog­ni­tion of Sci­ence and Tech­nol­ogy, an in­ter­na­tional or­ga­ni­za­tion that pro­motes sci­ence ed­u­ca­tion.

Teams around the world cre­ate ro­bots to com­pete in a spe­cific game, then meet in re­gional and ul­ti­mately in in­ter­na­tional fi­nals com­pe­ti­tions.

Like its larger cousin, the FIRST Ro­bot­ics Com­pe­ti­tion, FIRST Tech Chal­lenge pro­motes en­gi­neer­ing and sci­ence stud­ies.

The ve­hi­cle for this ed­u­ca­tion, how­ever, is on a smaller scale, akin to a very large erec­tor set, and pow­ered by an An­droid op­er­at­ing sys­tem.

The tour­na­ment is free and open to the gen­eral public. The event be­gins at 10 a.m. on Satur­day with open­ing cer­e­monies at the high school cam­pus, 3300 East Palm­dale Blvd. There will be signs to guide visi­tors to the tour­na­ment area.

The com­pe­ti­tion will run through­out the day, break­ing for lunch from noon to 12:30 p.m. and con­clud­ing with an awards cer­e­mony at 5 p.m.

The com­pe­ti­tion takes place on a 12-foot square field, with teams work­ing to­gether in al­liances.

This year’s game is called SKYSTONE, pre­sented by Qual­comm. Teams are tasked with build­ing a tow­er­ing su­per­struc­ture within their “city,” work­ing as al­lied teams of hu­mans and droids. Teams must over­come ob­sta­cles as they stretch their struc­tures to the skies.

Teams work through­out the sea­son to qual­ify for an op­por­tu­nity to par­tic­i­pate at the FIRST Tech Chal­lenge World Cham­pi­onship, held April 15 to 18 in Hous­ton.

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