Western Engineering launches into ‘Deep Space’ to host FIRST Robotics Competition (FRC)


More than 1,000 high school students, making 40 teams, each with a robot that they have built and programmed will take to the battle pit at Western University this weekend in an epic competition that combines sport, engineering, science, and teamwork. The Faculty of Engineering will be hosting this year’s FIRST® Robotics Competition (FRC) — Western University District Event.

Under strict time limitations, teams from across Ontario have designed and built 54-kilogram robots that will compete head-to-head to prepare their artificial rockets for Deep Space. Students use their engineering, coding and design skills to program and test their machines. Teams then coordinate their efforts, often in alliances with other FIRST teams, to attach hatch panels, load precious cargo and navigate simulated sandstorms.

Many teams will be competing for limited spots at the Ontario championships in Mississauga the following week. From that competition, top teams will then compete at world championships in Houston, Texas or Detroit, Michigan.

Spectators to this free event will be treated to the large-scale excitement of a competition that has been called the “varsity sport of the mind.”

“For over 20 years, FIRST Robotics has inspired thousands of young people to be science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) leaders and we are excited to be hosting the FIRST Robotics Competition (FRC) District Competition at Western and in London.” said Gregg Kopp, Acting Dean of Western Engineering. “This event is part of Western Engineering’s larger outreach strategy assisting youth from both elementary and secondary levels to experience STEM in a positive way.”

The event is also supported by lead sponsor BOS Innovations, which is committed to inspiring the next great leaders in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM).

People gather to take photographs of Sophia the Robot which was created by David Hanson, founder and CEO, Chief Designer of Hanson Robotics in Toronto on Monday, April 30, 2018. Sophia is the latest and most advanced humanoid robot designed by Hanson Robotics. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette

WHAT: FIRST® Robotics Competition (FRC), featuring 1,000 high school students on 40 teams
WHERE: Thompson Recreation and Athletic Centre, Western University
WHEN: Saturday, April 6 to Sunday, April 7, 2019
For more: A complete event schedule is at https://www.eng.uwo.ca/outreach/first-robotics

MEDIA CONTACT: Joanne Moniz, Manager, Engineering Outreach, Western Engineering, 519-661-2111 x86988, joanne.moniz@uwo.ca
Alternate media contact: Joel Eckel, Communications Specialist, Western Engineering, 519-661-2111 x82917, and jeckel4@uwo.ca

Western delivers an academic experience second to none. Since 1878, The Western Experience has combined academic excellence with life-long opportunities for intellectual, social and cultural growth in order to better serve our communities. Our research excellence expands knowledge and drives discovery with real-world application. Western attracts individuals with a broad worldview, seeking to study, influence and lead in the international community.

ABOUT FIRST® (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology)
FIRST® is an international non-profit organization designed to inspire students to pursue further studies and careers in STEM. Students develop skills in problem solving, innovation, leadership and teamwork as well as design, manufacturing, programming and testing. FIRST®’s programs reach 300,000 students in 70 countries. FIRST® Robotics Canada, a Canadian non-profit started in 2002, now reaches 20,000 Canadian students. FIRST® is grateful to its provincial sponsors including Magna International Inc., Microsoft, SYNNEX, the Ontario Ministry of Education, the Argosy Foundation, CenterLine and Scotiabank.