Robotics Competition Returning to Rose-Hulman

A high school robotics competition is set to return to Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology in March. The FIRST Crossroads Regional will feature dozens of teams designing, building and programming robots.

September 23, 2013


TERRE HAUTE, Ind. - Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology will again host the premier international youth robotics competition when the FIRST Crossroads Regional returns to the college's Sports and Recreation Center on March 6-8, 2014.

FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) brings the excitement of a sporting event to science and technology through a robotics competition. Under tight guidelines, limited resources and time limits, 45 teams of about 25 high-school students build and program robots from a common kit of parts to perform prescribed tasks against a field of competitors. Teams measure the effectiveness of their robots and test the power of collaboration during the regional round of the competition.

The winning three-team alliance from the 2013 Crossroads Regional helped kickoff activities for the 2014 event by demonstrating their innovative robotics during halftime of Rose-Hulman's Homecoming football game on September 21. The Indiana teams came from Carmel, Indianapolis and West Lafayette.

Last year's challenge, Ultimate Ascent, had teams creating robots that worked autonomously and through wireless controls to toss Frisbees and climb towers scattered through a playing field that filled the Sports and Recreation Center's Hulbert Arena. The event attracted teams from seven states and more than 3,500 people attended the final round of the competition.

"The inaugural Crossroads Regional was an overwhelming success and far exceeded our expectations," said Crossroads Regional Chair Carlotta Berry, PhD, associate professor of electrical and computer engineering at Rose-Hulman. "This year we want to do even bigger and better things as we welcome teams to compete in the sport of the mind that uses robots to inspire young people and celebrate engineering."

As a judge at last year's regional, Rose-Hulman President James C. Conwell had a behind-the-scenes look at the event.

"There is nothing else like FIRST Robotics," Conwell stated. "FIRST is an organization that shares common goals with Rose-Hulman - we both celebrate science, technology, engineering and math (STEM). We want young people to know that STEM is cool and fun. Rose-Hulman is proud to encourage this by hosting this regional competition."

Teams are now registering to participate in the Crossroads Regional and will learn the competition's challenge early in 2014.

FIRST was founded by inventor and entrepreneur Dean Kamen to inspire young people to be science and technology leaders through innovation mentor-based programs. He was a surprise visitor to the 2013 Crossroads Regional and earned an honorary degree of engineering from Rose-Hulman in 2012.

"This is the sport of the future, and may be the hardest fun game that these kids have ever played," Kamen told the audience at last year's Crossroads Regional. "Rose-Hulman has become a true partner in my mission to help young people become scientists and engineers."

FIRST is supported by three out of every five Fortune 500 companies and offers more than $14 million in college scholarships annually. An independent study revealed that FIRST alumni are more than twice as likely to have a science- or technology-related career after college and more than three times as likely to pursue a career in engineering.

FIRST is a volunteer-driven organization and the Crossroads Regional is seeking volunteers to help host the 2014 event. Find out how to get involved at www.rose-hulman.edu/first.

About Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology

Founded in 1874, Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology is dedicated to preparing its students with the world's best undergraduate science, engineering, and mathematics education in an environment infused with innovation, intellectual rigor, and individualized attention. The college, located in Terre Haute, Indiana, has an enrollment of approximately 2,000 undergraduate students and 100 graduate students. For 15 consecutive years, U.S. News & World Report has rated Rose-Hulman as the top undergraduate engineering college in the nation whose highest degree is a bachelor's or master's. Rose-Hulman has also been recognized by The Princeton Review, which cited six of the institute's professors within their 2012 Best 300 Professors book, the only institution of higher learning in Indiana to be included. Learn more at www.rose-hulman.edu.

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