High School Robotics Tournament to be Held Jan. 26

48 Area High School Teams Competing in Fourth Annual Event

Show Me CenterCAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo., Jan. 14, 2013 — Robots built by students from 48 area high schools are expected to invade the Show Me Center Jan. 26 for the fourth year of the FIRST Technology Challenge robotics competition in Cape Girardeau.

Southeast Missouri State University is providing significant support to the competition, which is the largest qualifying event in Missouri. The event is free, open to the public and will be held from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

The FIRST Tech Challenge (FTC) is a competition in which teams of high school students spend months putting together and programming robots to compete in a basketball-like competition against other teams.

“This year, our competition is one of more than 100 taking place in 15 countries with the ultimate goal of making it to the World Championship in St. Louis,” said Dr. Brad Deken, chair of the Department of Industrial and Engineering Technology at Southeast Missouri State University.

Another change in this year’s event is the introduction of the FIRST Lego League. Robots from area teams of fourth to eighth graders will be competing in a scramble event. A major difference between these robots and the larger FTC robots is that they are built entirely out of LEGO pieces. The scramble competition will start around noon.

“The competition is open to the public for those who would like to see what local schools can do with robotics,” Deken said.

Volunteers play a major role in the success of the competition. Deken said volunteers for the local competition are needed to ensure the competition is successful. Volunteers do not need any special skills, he said.

“Anyone with an interest in technology or our upcoming generation of technologists would be great volunteers,” he said.

Volunteers are typically needed from about 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.

“The ultimate payoff is to see the wonderful work done by regional high school students,” Deken said.

Volunteers may register online at http://www.stlouisfirst.org/GetInvolved/EventVolunteers/FTCVolunteers/tabid/255/Default.aspx. They should then select “1/26/13 Southeast Missouri State University, Cape Girardeau, MO” under the FTC Qualifiers to volunteer for the event. Volunteers may choose a role. A list of roles is available at http://contact.stlouisfirst.org/contact/EventsVolunteerDDN.asp?EventName=2012+FTC+Qualifier+-+SEMO-Cape+Girardeau+%281%2F26%2F13%29. There are many volunteer positions that cover a broad spectrum of responsibilities, including inspectors, referees, announcers, photographers and various other positions.

For more information on the competition or for those interested in volunteering, contact Deken at Southeast Missouri State University (573) 651-2104 or bdeken@semo.edu.