SALINE, MI – Thirty-six robotics teams from across the state traveled to the Saline school district to compete in the first action robotics competition on Friday, March 31 and Saturday, April 1.
Finally, the prestigious Impact Award, which guarantees a team a slot in the state championship, was given to Plymouth-Canton Education Park Lightning Robotics.
Some of the other teams also advanced to the first Michigan state championship, which took place on April 6 at Saginaw Valley University.
The Engineering Inspiration Award was awarded to the Chelsea High School Technical Challenge Team and the Rookie All-Star Award to the Jackson Preparatory & College Fighting Falcons team.
A full list of results from the 2023 FIRST can be found in the Michigan Salt Lake District Results this.
Lightning Robotics, made up of 170 students, represented one of the larger teams in the competition. The team is divided into subgroups such as planning, design, manufacturing and communication, each with specific tasks to meet their robot.
“If you talk to anyone at (Lightning Robotics), they’ll tell you that we’re all learning more from this team than we are at school,” said senior Anwesha Pathak, president of the Lightning Robotics business. “I will learn all the skills that we have learned here, such as communication skills, talking with people as well as technical liaisons, putting together business plans and even going to our sponsor companies, presenting them (our plans), getting professional feedback. in it (he showed me) how I do the work is envisioned very similar to actual companies and what they do.”
In the competition, students tested their robots in a series of qualification matches between two companies consisting of three teams and their robots. Teams accumulate points by directing the robot to complete small tasks such as moving small inflatable cubes and traffic kernels into bins.
The high school teams have a little over two months to analyze the 2023 game manual, then design, program and compete in the regional and district competitions, which run throughout the month of March. They are assisted by a professional counselor.
The goals and rules of the game change every year, according to Pathak.
Winners of the FIRST Michigan State Championship on April 7-8 will have the opportunity to compete against over two hundred other teams from around the world at the FIRST Championship in Houston, Texas April 19-22.
An international non-profit founded by inventor Dean Kamen in 1989, FIRST aims to offer hands-on, STEM-based learning for K-12 students. First Robotics Competition participants are also given access to exclusive scholarships, internships and other academic opportunities that encourage pathways into STEM careers.
Katie Brandt, a chemistry teacher at St. Catherine the Elder Academy in Wixom and director of her robotics group The SCA Constellations, said she has a student who now attends Michigan Technological University “mostly for free, for a fee” Humanity FIRST.
St. Catherine of Siena Academy senior Elaina Starzacher said she decided to pursue biomedical engineering in college entirely because of her experience in robotics.
“Every single senior who is graduating this year (from the team) is majoring in some form of engineering,” Starzacher said of the all-female team.
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