TERRE HAUTE — On Saturday, Rose-Hulman faculty and alumni celebrated the school’s status as host for a 2013 FIRST robotics competition. FIRST — For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology — competitions merge science and sport as teams build robots to perform on the ground, under water and in the air.

Rose-Hulman’s Sports and Recreation Center will host the competition’s Crossroads Regional beginning April 4, with 50 teams of 25 coming from schools around the country. More than 4,000 participants, family members and spectators are expected to descend on Terre Haute for the event, organizers said.

Carlotta Berry, Rose-Hulman professor of electrical and computer engineering, serves as the Crossroads Regional chair, and said she’s been judging these events since 2007.

“It’s not just robotics competitions. It’s students excited about science, technology and math,” she said.

Alex Andrews, a sophomore member of the Rose-Hulman Robotics Team, said he’s been involved in the group’s ground and underwater contests. When he first heard of the team last year, the project interested him and the electrical engineering major soon found himself wiring parts.

“They’re both good projects. I’m not sure I could pick a favorite,” he said.

Underwater robotics projects include plugging oil leaks, he said. Last year’s challenge in the ground division had teams create robots that worked autonomously and through wire controls to place miniature basketballs in hoops scattered across a field. A new “air robotics” division has recently been added, he said.

Rose-Hulman interim President Robert Coons said the school will use the FIRST competition as a recruiting tool as the brightest young minds in America gather there next spring.
© 2024 Community Newspaper Holdings, Inc.