York campus sponsors FTC robotics tourney at Dallastown Area Intermediate School

January 12, 2015

Thirty teams of middle and high school students from across the state, West Virginia, New Jersey, New York and Maryland are registered for the FTC (FIRST Tech Challenge) South Central PA Regional Qualifier, “Cascade Effect,” a robotics competition to be held from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 17, at the Dallastown Area Intermediate School, 84 Beck Road, York. Penn State York is still sponsoring the event but due to planned construction on campus, the event was moved to this alternate location.  

Opening ceremonies are at 10:45 a.m., followed by competitions throughout the day. Prior to the ceremony, teams will have an opportunity to get organized, register their robots and prepare for competition. This is the fifth time the campus has sponsored this event. The competition is open to the public and is free. To view photos from the 2014 event, visit https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.10152177507900590.1073741906.88848090589&type=3.

More than 400 attendees, including competitors and spectators are expected to attend. Three York County teams are among the competitors: Pir2ates (York), RoboRevenants (Fawn Grove) and YCDS (York). Teams from the Harrisburg area and Lancaster County are also registered for the event.

The Cascade Effect is the name of the game at this competition. The object of Cascade Effect is for a team to attain a higher score than the opposing alliance by maneuvering their robot to place golf ball and baseball sized balls in rolling goals and in the center structure goal.

See Cascade Effect for an overview of the game and http://www.usfirst.org/roboticsprograms/ftc/game for full details.

Marshall F. Coyle, associate professor of engineering at Penn State York, is the volunteer coordinator for the event, and is responsible for filling the many positions necessary to make the competition possible. It was his idea to bring the competition to campus five years ago. In addition, Coyle has worked to create the team sponsored by Penn State York, Pir2ates.

“It is truly amazing to see the creativity these students exhibit in the creation of their robots,” said Coyle.  “These kids have a bright future, and I am excited the campus is again sponsoring this event,” he said.  

Penn State York is one of the several regional sites. The qualifiers from the regionals compete in the State Championship on Saturday, Feb. 28, at Millersville University. Teams that qualify from the states will then proceed into the Super Regional (East Region), March 29-31 at the University of Scranton.

The acronym FIRST means For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology, and the organization was founded in 1989 by Dean Kamen, an accomplished inventor, who wanted to inspire young people to appreciate science and technology.

According to Thomas Zawislak, FIRST FTC affiliate partner, team members are part of an alliance trying to perform tasks on the field with their robots. The event emphasizes gracious professionalism; winning is nice but the design process and participant attitude are the important goals. Teams assist each other and members develop friendships and camaraderie throughout the competition.

Penn State York students, faculty, staff and business members from the York community work as volunteers during the competition, filling a variety of roles from judges to field tech advisers, scorekeepers, software inspectors and more.  

Throughout the competition, teams are judged on their sportsmanship, performance of their robots, completion of tasks, ability to follow rules and a variety of other criteria. Students in grades 7-12 are eligible to take part in the competition.

Teams registered for the Penn State York FTC, including their team name, school or organization, and city and state are: Ozone, Oxford Robotics, Oxford, Pa.; CART, Neighborhood Team, Charleston, W.Va.; Some Disassembly Required, Troop 793, Gleneig, Md.; Scibot1 and Scibot 2, SciTech High School, Harrisburg, Pa.; MASH, Friends of 401, West Vincent, Pa.; Terabytes, Independent, Murrysville, Pa.; Silver Soldiers, GPARSEC, Pottstown, Pa.; NanoGurus, NanuGurus robotics, Morris Plains, N.J.; Autobots, TCHS Brandywine, Downingtown, Pa.; Minnie MASH, Friends of 401, Chester Springs, Pa.; Imagine It Robotics, Palmyra, Pa.; RM’d and Dangerous, Richard Montgomery High School, Rockville, Md.; Enderbots, Corning, Corning, N.Y.; RoboDragons, Freire Charter School, Philadelphia, Pa.; Sparks, Academy of Norte Dame, Villanova, Pa.; Foobar, Oxford Robotics, Oxford, Pa.; Jaybots, Central Columbia High School, Bloomsburg, Pa.; Shady Side Academy, Shady Side Academy, Pittsburgh, Pa.; Cruzin’ Comets Blue and Cruzin’ Comets White, Abington Heights High School, Clarks Summit, Pa.; RoboRevenants, Southeastern York Robotics, Fawn Grove, Pa.; Pir2ates, Penn State York, York, Pa.; Sab-BOT-age, Downingtown Area Robotics, Downingtown, PA.; Silver Spartans, Owen J. Roberts, Pottstown, Pa.; Flaming Phoenix, Unionville-Chadds Ford School District, Kennett Square, Pa.; MASH Triage Unit, Friends of 401, Pottstown, Pa.; Hempfield SHS Hempfield School District, Landisville, Pa.; The Iron Struct, Family Friends, Enola, Pa.; and YCDS, York Country Day School, York, Pa. Three teams remain on the waiting list to compete since the facility is at capacity.

For more information on the event sponsored by Penn State York, visit http://www.ftcpenn.org/ftc-events/2014-2015-season/south-central-pennsylvania-regional-qualifying-tournament. For information about FIRST, visit http://www.usfirst.org/.

 7 a.m., volunteers arrive and check-in
 7:45 a.m., teams arrive and check-in; hardware and software inspection begins
 8:15 a.m., judge interviews begin
 10:30 a.m., drivers meeting on Competition Field
 10:45 a.m., opening ceremonies
 11 a.m., qualification matches begin
 12:30 p.m., lunch 
 1 p.m., qualification matches resume
 3 p.m., semifinals
 4 p.m., finals
 4:45 p.m., awards and closing ceremonies
 5:15 p.m., event ends

  • 2015 Robotics York1

    There will be plenty of robots in action during the First Tech Challenge (FTC) South Central PA Regional Qualifier on Saturday, Jan. 17.  The event is free and open to the public to watch. Qualification matches begin at 11 a.m. and the event continues all day.

    IMAGE: Barbara Dennis
Last Updated January 15, 2015