Technology Rules! Michigan robotics competition attracts student competitors to EMU

by Amber Ratliff, Published April 07, 2014

YPSILANTI - Mechanical masterpieces will be spinning, flying and hopping, April 10, through Saturday, April 12, at the Eastern Michigan University Convocation Center for the robotics state championship.

The stakes are high for 56 Michigan high school teams practicing in the coming week as they prepare to battle it out in the qualifying state championships at EMU. Robot enthusiasts will not only bring metal to life, but also compete against other teams to move on to the next level.

Remote controlled robots are piloted by students and go head-to-head on the floor in a small arena. Each year the robots compete in different games during two-minute rounds to showcase their functionality. Bonus points are earned when the robots shoot discs into rectangular openings above the field during the match. Winners are determined by accumulating the most points.

The three-day event, run by an organization called FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology), also draws thousands of cheering fans from across the state. While the championship is not an EMU event, Eastern students and alumni mentor many of the teams. FIRST was founded in 1989 in order to show what fun engineering, technology, math and science can be for a career choice. More than $16 million in college scholarships are available for FIRST students.

The Convocation Center, located at 799 N. Hewitt Rd. in Ypsilanti, will host the first round of competition beginning at 8 a.m. on Thursday, April 10. For additional information and a full agenda of the three-day competition, please visit the FIRST website.

Pamela Young

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