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Students' Robots Climb To The Top At Qualifying Event In Ridgefield

Robots must climb a mountain and complete tasks along the way at this years' qualifying event at Ridgefield Academy.
Robots must climb a mountain and complete tasks along the way at this years' qualifying event at Ridgefield Academy. Photo Credit: Reina Sauer

RIDGEFIELD, Conn. -- Students will show off their robotics skills at a qualifying event hosted by Connecticut FIRST Tech Challenge at Ridgefield Academy this Saturday.

Students in grades 7 through 12 will compete for awards, as well as a chance to earn college scholarships and to compete at the Connecticut State level competition at Greens Farms Academy in February.

Organized robotics competitions are designed for students to compete head-to-head, using a sports model. Teams of 14 are responsible for designing, building, and programming their robots to meet a particular challenge, employing STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) concepts.

Robots must be built based on sound engineering principals and effective strategies and communication must be employed to succeed.

Evan Barnet, president and CEO of Barnet Associates and Connecticut FIRST Affiliate Partner, said that the competition has great value for students, both in the present and in their futures.

"In one match they might be competing with someone that they just collaborated with in another match. Programming, building, designing and working together will help students in the workforce and in their future careers," said Barnet.

This year’s challenge, called RES-Q, centers around contestants’ robots climbing a mountain and completing tasks along the way. Each match requires 30 seconds of autonomous performance and two minutes of remote controlled performance.

“All robots are different, so it’s interesting to watch students quickly figure out the strengths and weaknesses of a new team’s robot and cooperate accordingly to plan a new approach to the challenge,” said Pam Barnet, Barnet Associates’ vice president of application development and software adoption.

Six judges from local corporations will judge the competition and assess how well each robot is built, the innovation used, and design qualities. Even team spirit will be judged and awards provided for each category.

Saturday's competition will be held from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Contestants come from all over Connecticut, including Windsor, West Hartford, Westport, Wilton, Norwalk, Avon, West Hartford, Danbury, Westport, Bridgeport, Barkhamsted, and Greens Farms.

Click here for more information about Mountain Matchup.

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