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Penn College Hosts Regional Robotics Competition


Stan Boler, associate professor of electronics at Pennsylvania College of Technology, acts as a judge during a FIRST Tech Challenge regional qualifying event at the college, listening to members of 'RM Robotics,' of Richard Montgomery High School in Rockville, Md., explain their robot%E2%80%99s design.Pennsylvania College of Technology hosted the FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) Tech Challenge North Central Pennsylvania Regional Qualifier, a robotics competition for students in grades 7-12, on its campus Feb. 5.

The competition, dubbed “Get Over It!” featured task-oriented robotics competitions, during which teams were asked to perform a variety of maneuvers with their robots.

Thirteen teams from Pennsylvania, New York, New Jersey, Delaware and Maryland attended the Penn College event, one of four qualifiers in Pennsylvania that lead to the FIRST Tech Challenge Pennsylvania State Robotics Championship in Weatherly on March 5.

“Team members are part of an alliance trying to perform tasks on the field with their robots,” said Stephen Kew-Goodale, event coordinator for FIRST Tech Challenge. “We emphasize gracious professionalism, with winning or losing not the important things. Winning is nice, but the design process is the important thing. We expect teams to help each other and develop friendships and camaraderie throughout the competition.”

More than a dozen Penn College faculty and staff, along with students and alumni, worked as volunteers during the competition, filling a variety of roles, from judges to field tech advisers, scorekeepers, software inspectors and more.

Bruce M. Smith, instructor of electronics at Penn College, was volunteer coordinator for the event and worked to fill the many positions necessary to make the competition possible.

Throughout the competition, teams were judged on their sportsmanship, performance of their robots, completion of tasks, following the rules and a variety of other criteria.

Participants received the following awards:

  • “Minds in Gear,” Weekend Robotics, Coatesville, Inspire Award
  • “Fatal Error,” Pope John XXIII High School, Sparta, N.J., Winning Alliance
  • “Breaking Chains,” Pope John XXIII High School, Sparta, N.J., Winning Alliance
  • “Quake,” Friends School of Baltimore, Finalist Alliance
  • “Ghost in the Machine,” General Robotics Club, Oreland, Finalist Alliance
  • “Dynamic Robotics,” Chester County Homeschool Robotics Club, St. Peters, Think Award
  • “RM Robotics,” Richard Montgomery High School, Rockville, Md., Innovate Award
  • “Overclocked Robotics,” Corning Robotics, Corning, N.Y., PTC Design Award
  • “MASH,” Owen J. Roberts High School, Pottstown, Connect Award
  • “MOE,” Miracle of Engineering Robotics Group, Newark, Del., Motivate Award
  • “PACE Robotics,” Philadelphia All-City Engineers, Philadelphia, Judge’s Award

Three teams Minds in Gear, Fatal Error and Breaking Chains earned automatic entry in the state championships, while RM Robotics, Overclocked Robotics and MOE are entered in a “hat pull” for spots in the championship.

FIRST was founded in 1989 by Dean Kamen, an accomplished inventor, who wanted to inspire young people to appreciate science and technology. For more information about FIRST, visit online .

To learn more about academic programs in the School of Industrial and Engineering Technologies at Penn College, call 570-327-4520 or visit on the Web .

For more about Penn College, visit online , e-mail or call toll-free 800-367-9222.

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