January 19, 2017

Media Advisory -- FTC Robotics Competition

A regional robotics competition featuring 14 teams of about 70 junior high and high school students from central and Southern Illinois will take place Saturday, Jan. 21, at Southern Illinois University Carbondale’s Transportation Education Center at the Southern Illinois Airport. 

First Tech Challenge (FTC) robotics teams will compete against opponents in “Velocity Vortex.” The goal is for teams to score as many points as possible in a variety of ways using baseball-sized whiffle balls and a larger ball. Matches last three minutes and feature autonomous and driver-controlled scoring. The First Tech Challenge program brings science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) principles together with innovation, creativity and competition. A synopsis of the competition and a video detailing game rules are available here. The non-profit FIRST, or “For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology,” has a mission of motivating young people to pursue education and careers in STEM fields. 

After robot inspection from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m., matches should begin at 1:30 p.m. and run through 4:30 p.m. The competing teams are a mix of high school, junior high, Girl Scout and community robotics clubs from Charleston, Coulterville, Centralia, East St. Louis, Edwardsville, Lebanon, Marion, Maryville, Millstadt, O’Fallon and Rochester. The teams are competing to earn points to build rankings in their respective divisions and leagues. On Feb. 11, the teams compete in the South Central League Qualifier at Hope Academy in Decatur. Six teams from there will advance to the Illinois State FTC Championships at Elgin Community College, Feb. 24-25, with a goal of reaching the FTC World Championship in St. Louis, April 26-29. 

Participants, event coordinators Sue and Joe Kunzeman of Decatur, and several members of the College of Applied Sciences and Arts including Michael Behrmann, chair of the Department of Automotive Technology, will be available for interviews. The SIU Robotics Club, a student registered organization, is also heavily involved in organizing the event at the Transportation Education Center. 

For more information, contact Sue Kunzeman at 217/855-4643 or Slkunzeman@gmail.com, or Behrmann at 618/453-4024 or mbehr@siu.edu.