CSU to host statewide youth robotics championship on Feb. 18

Robots compete in the foreground while referees and students controlling the robots look on.
Middle and high school teams participate in last year’s FIRST Tech Challenge championship. Credit: FIRST

Imagine a crowd on the edge of their seats as 40-pound robots square off in a nail-biting display of technological athleticism.

That will be the scene at Colorado State University on Saturday, Feb. 18, as it hosts the FIRST Tech Challenge statewide championship.

The departments of Electrical and Computer Engineering, Mechanical Engineering, and Computer Science are sponsoring the competition. It brings together 32 of the top-performing middle and high school teams across the state who design, code, and operate competitive robots.

For fans of innovation, the event is like the playoff games before the Super Bowl.

Around 700 spectators will be on hand to watch the teams flex their creativity in a single-elimination tournament. The winner of the state competition will advance to the national championship. The event will be live-streamed throughout campus.

“It’s energizing to see this level of excitement and passion for robotics,” said Edwin Chong, head of the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering. “I’m impressed by the complexity of the students’ projects.”

Exploring innovative, hands-on programs at CSU

A student works with a large white robot on a tabletop
An electrical and computer engineering student shares his robot at an event last fall. The Walter Scott, Jr. College of Engineering offers hands-on design projects and interdisciplinary programs in robotics.

The championship event also offers a unique opportunity for competitors to meet with faculty, staff, and students to learn about life at CSU and participate in laboratory tours in the Walter Scott, Jr. College of Engineering.

Steve Johnson, manager of undergraduate teaching laboratories in the Department of Mechanical Engineering, has been working with campus partners to orchestrate the event. “We’re thrilled to host the teams this year to show what possibilities look like for these students across a variety of STEM fields, and we’re even more excited to partner with FIRST Colorado to support this awesome learning experience for students across the state,” he said.

As one of the most sustainable universities in the world, CSU boasts cutting-edge programs that teach students how to use creativity and innovation to foster a better world.

The Walter Scott, Jr. College of Engineering offers students a hands-on education through collaborative design projects and undergraduate research. The college has an array of interdisciplinary robotics programs focused on developing applications to benefit humanity, from surgical assistance to elder care to space exploration.

The College of Natural Sciences harnesses the power of foundational sciences to create the next generation of innovators. The Computer Science department prepares students to apply the latest technical skills to solve problems that improve lives in extraordinary ways.

About FIRST Tech Challenge

FIRST Tech Challenge brings together teams of students in grades 7-12 to design, build, program, and operate robots to compete in a head-to-head challenge in an alliance format.
Guided by adult coaches and mentors, students develop STEM skills and practice engineering principles, while realizing the value of hard work, innovation, and working as a team.