Tis the Season for Regional Robotics Competitions

With school back in session, football may be on everyone’s mind. But there’s another kind of sport brewing in the pipeline for those interested in local and regional robotics competitions.  Career & Technical Student organizations like FIRST Robotics, FLL, SkillsUSA and BizBot are preparing to compete in various regional, state and national competitions. As members, teams develop technical skills, leadership qualities, professionalism and teamwork skills that are a core part of robotics competitions that are supported by FLATE.

The 2014-2015, FIRST Robotics Competition, season kick off is scheduled for Jan. 3, 2015. The
South Florida Regional competition is from Feb. 25-28, at the Great Ft. Lauderdale & Broward County Convention Center. The Championships will be held in St. Louis, MO, from April 22-25, 2015, For more information visit http://www.usfirst.org/roboticsprograms/frc/regional-events.

Locally FLATE has supported the FRC robotics teams from Middleton and Robinson high schools at various events that included FLATE robotics open house when the Middleton and Robinson teams showcased their robots used during the FRC competition. Both schools were also among the 300 students in Hillsborough County that toured Southern Manufacturing Technologies and Heat Pipe, as part of National Manufacturing Day in Florida last week.

FIRST Tech Challenge (FTC) is a mid-level robotics competition for high school students that is
geared to help them learn how to design and build robots. FTC robots are operated by LEGO MINDSTORMS NXT robots and has the option of using either the ROBOTC or Labview software. FIRST Tech challenge season runs from September to February, and helps develop problem-solving skills using a fun and competitive setting. For more information on FTC challenges visit http://www.usfirst.org/roboticsprograms/ftc 

The FIRST LEGO League (FLL) is a robotics program for 9 to 16 year olds and designed to get 
students excited about science and technology. The Florida FLL kickoff event was on Oct. 4 at Middleton High School. Team registrations are currently underway with many events scheduled between now and the end of the year. For a full listing of upcoming tournaments visit http://www.flrobotics.org/ 

SkillsUSA competition theme for 2013-2014 is “Champions at Work Educated and Skilled to Lead
America”. The Florida SkillsUSA regional competition is on Feb 3-4, 2015 at the South Tech Educational Center. Deadline to register for regionals is Dec. 5, 2014. For more information, or to register visit http://www.flskillsregion5.info/regional-contest-information.html. The BizBots project is a new team-based business and robotics competition designed by the Florida Robotics Alliance. This year’s BizBots emphasizes both business acumen and engineering principles by having students design a robotic Pick & Place system for the purpose of fulfilling commercial processing tasks.

The BizBot Competition model comprises of a three-part competition that includes a: Robotics
business plan, engineering note book and a robotic game component. Ken Fiallos, president of the FRA and Chair of the Tampa Bay Chapter for IEEE (Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers) Robotics and Automation, will guide students with the engineering notebook; Desh Bagley, outreach manager for FLATE will teach students about 3D printing.
There are several local/regional BizBot events scheduled for Fall, with the BizBot kick off at Hillsborough Community College in Brandon on Sep. 27, 2014. A BizBot Jamboree is also scheduled for Nov. 15 at HCC in Plant City. The final BizBot competition will take place Dec. 13 at McLane Middle School, in Tampa.

The BizBot program provides students with a foundation of knowledge and technically oriented experiences in the principles and applications of robotics engineering and its effect upon our lives and the choosing of an occupation. For more information, or to register a team visit http://floridaroboticsalliance.org.