FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology), an international youth organization, develops ways to inspire students through cooperative events, including the FIRST Robotics Competition. The annual competition has taken place since 1992. This year, SysGen is helping a local high school robotics club participate in the competition at the regional level.
Twila McIntyre, Accounting Administrator at SysGen, facilitated the company’s involvement. Twila’s fiancée’s son, Brandon Dull, is part of St. Martin de Porres High School’s robotics club, the Dial-Up Grizzlies. The group, made up of three girls and six boys in grades 9 through 12, is the Airdrie high school’s inaugural competitive robotics team.
Shortly after forming, the Dial-Up Grizzlies set their sights on entering the FIRST Robotics Canada Western Regional Competition, held April 3 – 5, 2014 at the University of Calgary’s Olympic Oval. But in order to cover registration, building materials, and other supplies, they needed some financial support. SysGen agreed to help the team with a sponsorship, and in return, the Dial-Up Grizzlies will wear t-shirts displaying SysGen’s logo for the competition.
The competition challenges each team to build a robot weighing up to 120 pounds that can complete a specific task (or “game”), which changes every year. Teams are given standard parts but are allowed and encouraged to buy or make specialized parts. The robot must operate autonomously as well as when guided by wireless controls. For 2014, the game is “Aerial Assist”, whereby robots win by directing 2’-diameter exercise balls into scoring areas located on the far end of a field. The Dial-Up Grizzlies’ robot will use a forklift and rear-mounted catapult design to launch the balls to their targets.
If the Dial-Up Grizzlies succeed at the Western Regional Competition, they could go on to compete in the world championships, which will take place in Japan this year. 2,850 teams from around the globe are projected to participate in the 2014 season.
SysGen continues to proudly support its staff members and their families in all their endeavours. In this case, the opportunity also represents a chance to encourage local youth interested in technology. SysGen will be cheering for the Dial-Up Grizzlies all the way!