Tuesday, May 21, 2013


Williams Arena was the site of the 2013 Minnesota F.I.R.S.T. (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) State Robotics Tournament. 

According to the U.S. F.I.R.S.T. Web site: “FIRST was founded in 1989 to inspire young people's interest and participation in science and technology.” Based in Manchester, NH, the 501c not-for-profit public charity designs accessible, innovative programs that motivate young people to pursue education and career opportunities in science, technology, engineering, and math, while building self-confidence, knowledge, and life skills.”

This year 30 teams from all across the state will gather at the University of Minnesota for the tournament. This year flying discs, pyramid climbing focus of challenge.  

According to Wikipedia: “Ultimate Ascent is played with two alliances, one red and one blue. Each alliance has three teams. During the qualification rounds at competition the matches are generated such that teams do not play two matches too quickly or compete with or against another team too often. Elimination alliances are then selected in a two-round serpentine draft by the top eight seeded teams before the elimination rounds. Each team's robot can be identified by its bumpers which must have the team's number visible from any side of the robot. The bumpers are also colored to match the alliance that the robot is on. The winning alliance is determined by the team with the most points at the conclusion of the match.”

Teams were split up into two different alliances. There were three different teams in one alliance. So six different robots were on the floor at one time. In the qualifying rounds teams looked to throw Frisbees into a goal. As each teams competed against each other they were awarded points based on how many Frisbees they were able to score.

Inside the arena there was a pyramid that the robots could climb up and get to the top of it.  

I thought that all of the robots were very cool. It takes a lot of time and energy for students to build and test and maintain their robots throughout the year.  

I thought that the fans that showed up really had fun. They cheered for their alliances.

Throughout the day I was able to meet and talk to some of the students that participate in the Robotic tournament.  

Digi-Key brought out its King Robota robot as it danced to music that entertained the fans.  

Then it was back to more matches.  

There was a one-hour lunch break where teams and the media spread out across campus to eat lunch at any one of the numerous restaurants around the area it was back for more competition.

After the lunch break they finished the last few rounds of the qualification round.  

The students and the fans all seemed to enjoy themselves throughout the day. There was music playing consistently throughout the event.

Teams would be able to get points if the were also able to climb the pyramid on each end of the arena.

There was an Alliance Selection for the championship rounds. According to the State Robotics  Program, “The top four teams will be selected based on win-loss record and game point totals during the preliminary rounds. The top four teams will then select alliance partners for the semifinals and championship. Semifinal and championship rounds will be best two-out-of-three.”

In the semifinals both teams continued to score baskets as they did in the earlier rounds.

In the first round of the finals both teams continued to score points by climbing and throwing disks in the goal.

Before the championship match each team inspected their own robot with the head official to go over their robot.

Then it was time for the final match.

The teams that took second place were from Nevis 3102, Prior Lake 2169 and New London-Spicer 3276.

The first place alliance was Irondale 2052, Math and Science Academy 2175, and Becker 4607.

I had fun at my fist US FIRST Robotic State Tournament.   

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