Robotics squads to gather for FIRST Tech Challenge event
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.