Young Creators Display Robotic Skills at Island University ‘FIRST Tech Challenge Relic Recovery’

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas – More than 200 Coastal Bend students demonstrated their passion for science, technology and robotics during the Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi Annual “For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology (FIRST) Tech Challenge” on Jan. 27. FIRST Tech Challenge participants designed, programmed and built robots based on engineering principles to compete for a place in the FTC Alamo Regional/State Championship.

“In the six years the University has hosted this event, this is by far the largest number of participants we have had get involved,” said Mayra Alvarado, program coordinator in the College of Science and Engineering (COSE). “By offering this opportunity, local students can come see what the University has to offer, meet some of our currently enrolled students and interact with our faculty, which may encourage them to become future Islanders.”

The theme of this year’s FIRST Tech Challenge’s was “Relic Recovery,” which simulated an archeological adventure where the teams were challenged to apply real-world math and science concepts to create a hand-made robot capable of overcoming obstacles and tests. The robots’ mission was to decipher glyphs to crack a code, pick up the glyphs and put them into crypto boxes. The robots’ adventurous mission was completed when the recovered relics were taken into a safety zone. The teams worked in an alliance format, which paired two teams against another set of teams to score and collect as many points as possible.

“I’ve volunteered at this event for the past four years and it’s always great to see how the teams take different approaches to the same problem,” shared Jared Stowell, a senior computer science major at Texas A&M-Corpus Christi. “I participated in the FIRST Tech Challenge when I was in high school, so I know this competition takes a lot of time and effort.”

Family members and friends cheered on participants and winners from the beginning of the competition to the end. This year, six teams earned a direct advancement to the FTC Alamo Regional/State Championship in Austin, for their community outreach, design and other real-world accomplishments. Additionally, four teams advanced to the FTC Wild Card Competition in Laredo.

The advancing teams include:

FTC Alamo Regional/State Championship
  • Team 10862 - Droid Rage 2 from Collegiate High School (CCISD)
  • Team 4932 - Team CIA from Moody High School (CCISD)
  • Team 6901 - Droid Rage 1 from Collegiate High School (CCISD)
  • Team 9923 - Triple A from Moody High School (CCISD)
  • Team13744 - Enginerds from Calallen High School (CISD)
  • Team 8493 - Renegades from Flour Bluff High School (FBISD)
FTC Wild Card Competition
  • Team 7789 - Beach Bots from Flour Bluff High School (FBISD)
  • Team 12285 - Droid Rage 4 from Collegiate High School (CCISD)
  • Team 12202 - Gaga for Robots from Moody High School (CCISD)
  • Team 12277 - Hornet Robotics from Coles High School (CCISD)

The Department of Engineering co-hosted the FIRST Tech Challenge in partnership with the FIRST Gulf Coast Robotics League. FIRST is a not-for-profit science, technology, engineering and math program for kids worldwide.