University News

Western New England University Hosts 2024 FIRST Robotics Competition Qualifier

Published: April 10, 2024 | Categories: Engineering, All News
First Robotics at the Anthony S. Caprio Alumni Healthful Living Center

The Department of Industrial Engineering and Engineering Management at Western New England University (WNE) proudly hosted the 2024 WNE FIRST Robotics Competition (FRC) Qualifier for the fourth year. The event took place at the university's Anthony S. Caprio Healthful Living Center from March 22 to March 24, drawing participants from across New England.

The FIRST Robotics Competition is an eagerly anticipated annual event that challenges high school teams to design and build robots to tackle specific tasks. The journey begins with a nationally broadcasted January Kick-Off event, which was also hosted at WNE on January 6th, 2024. Following this kickoff, teams have eight weeks to construct their robots before competing in a series of regional qualifying events.

This year's WNE FRC Qualifier welcomed 36 teams, comprising approximately 1,400 students from various high schools across the New England States. The competition spanned 12 rounds, with each round featuring randomly selected 'Blue Alliance' partners pitted against a three-team 'Red Alliance'. The format emphasizes not only technical prowess but also quick strategic planning, as alliance partnerships change with each round.

Over the course of two intense days, a total of 72 rounds took place, with teams vying for top positions and ranking points to secure advancement to the District FRC Championships. The atmosphere was electric as teams showcased their robots' capabilities and adapted to the challenges posed by ever-changing alliance dynamics.

One of the unique aspects of FRC is the emphasis on collaboration amidst competition. Leading teams, after 72 qualifying rounds, must strategically select alliance partners for the final 12 rounds, leveraging both their own strengths and those of their fellow competitors. This spirit of camaraderie and sportsmanship was palpable throughout the event, reflecting the core values of the FIRST Robotics community.

As the WNE event concluded, anticipation mounted for the District FRC Championships scheduled to take place at the Big E in April. The top-performing teams emerged victorious, ready to represent their schools and communities on the next leg of their FRC journey.

Western New England University is proud to be at the forefront of fostering innovation and STEM education through initiatives like the FIRST Robotics Competition. By providing a platform for young minds to explore robotics and engineering, WNE continues to inspire the next generation of innovators and problem-solvers.