Hortonville High School students Mitchell Kettner, Max Wilson, Sam Murphy and Trevor Carter won the Regional FIRST Tech Challenge (FTC) competition held at UW-Milwaukee on Saturday, January 30. Their team is known as the Kinetic Polar Bears. FIRST, which stands for “For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology” is an organization founded by Segway inventor Dean Kamen to encourage grade school through high school students to develop an interest in science and technology. The FIRST Tech Challenge is a yearly nationwide competition in which high school student teams build robots to compete in a game that is defined by the FIRST organization and changes each year. Surface Mount Technology Corp., is a technology company, involved with the FIRST organization in both the FIRST Tech Challenge and in FIRST Lego League. This is a valuable opportunity to foster interest in technology in youth. For more information, see http://www.usfirst.org.
At the Wisconsin Regional competition, there were 17 teams from Wisconsin, Illinois, Michigan, and Iowa. Each team played in 7 qualifying matches, in which two alliances of two teams each square off in a 2 ½ minute match. The Surface Mount Technology Corp. sponsored team won 6 of 7 qualifying rounds to become the top seed in qualifying rounds. They picked an alliance team and won their semi-finals, and went on to win finals in four rounds after a loss, a tie, and two wins. One of the semi-final rounds can be viewed on Youtube at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wuxDzaaaUzc
Their first place finish against teams from around the Midwest qualifies them for World Competition in Atlanta Georgia in April.
For the second consecutive year this four-member team was awarded the judge’s award for Best Design for their effective, efficient, robust robot. The PTC Design Award is presented to teams that incorporate innovative industrial design elements into their solution. They were nominated for several other judges awards as well including the prestigious Inspire Award given to the team that truly embodies the ‘challenge’ of the FTC program.