Kettering University hosted the first ever collegiate FIRST Robotics competition on Sunday, Jan. 20, 2019. Courtesy photo
FLINT, Michigan — For the first time ever, Kettering University hosted a FIRST Robotics collegiate competition — and gave high school teams across the country a sneak peek into this year’s competition.
High School students have about six weeks to design, build, and program a robot for the annual competition and Genesee County is home to some of the best teams in the country.
Traditionally after kickoff — which announces the theme and the types of challenges that will be incorporated in this year’s competitions, college students and FIRST mentors build prototype robots in three days to show high school competitors some options for their own robots.
This year, for the first time, Kettering took things even further.
Five teams — from Kettering University, University of Michigan, Michigan State University, Ferris State University and Grand Valley State University — also competed on the FIRST Robotics course at Kettering on Sunday, Jan. 20, 2019.
“This competition will be very beneficial for high school teams to see actual matches play out and see what each team will be able to accomplish in the span of a match. It's hard to anticipate what matches will be like so I think it will give teams a lot of insight about different strategies and ways to play the game.” said Devin Spaulding, a Mechanical Engineering major and a member of Kettering’s team.
This year’s pilot event wasn’t open to the public, but high school teams were able to watch the competition unfold through a live feed. The University of Michigan team won high honors during the competition.
“FIRST aligns with everything Kettering values, and Kettering has been doing a lot of new things when it comes to FIRST teams. It makes a lot of sense for Kettering to be hosting the first collegiate game,” Spaulding said.