Students from 28 Massachusetts schools and one from Maine descended on campus to compete in the Massachusetts Champion "Ring It Up" Tournament, where they demonstrated their skills in designing and programming robots before an audience of more than 300 in the main gymnasium of the Tinsley Center.
The program operates under the "FTC" banner, which stands for "FIRST Tech Challenge," and this year around the world 2700 teams are registered to participate. "This is the fastest-growing robot competition on earth," said David Price, associate dean of BSU's aviation science program, who served as host and emcee for the day-long competition.
More than 40,000 students and volunteers work to make this annual event happen around the U.S. The winners of the competition held at BSU will go on to St. Louis in a matter of weeks where they will test their ability against the very best teams nationally and internationally.
Loretta Bessette of MIT's Lincoln Laboratory, which is an affiliate partner of FTC, also brought greetings and expressed thanks to the sponsors of the competition, which include Rockwell Collins, a leading aerospace manufacturing firm; PTC, another leading technology corporation; and Textron, one of the world's largest industrial conglomerates. "I know this is going to be a great and exciting day, and I wish each of the teams the best of luck with their robots," she said, before kicking off the event.
A total of eight award categories were part of the competition, and prizes were presented in areas for individuals (such as the most supportive adult coach or mentor) and for teams as a whole (for things such as ingenuity and inventiveness).
Participating schools included those from the communities of Andover, Arlington, North Andover, Danvers, Dedham, Dover, Easthampton, Feeding Hills, Hingham, , Lincoln, Needham, New Bedford, Palmer, Sharon, Sheffield, Shrewsbury, Waltham, Weston and Kennebunk, Maine. (Story and photo by David K. Wilson, '71, Office of University Advancement)