UMD to Host 2016 FIRST Robotics District Championship

College Park, Md. — The University of Maryland (UMD) and FIRST will host the 2016 FIRST Robotics Competition: Chesapeake District Championship April 7–9, 2016, at the XFINITY Center on the university’s College Park, Md., campus. Fifty-eight of the best and brightest high school robotics teams from Maryland, Virginia, and Washington, D.C., will go head-to-head to secure a spot in the international championship.

The Chesapeake District Championship is open to the public Thursday, April 7 through Saturday, April 9. Teams will spend most of April 7 preparing, while the competition will take place April 8 and 9. UMD’s A. James Clark School of Engineering Dean and Farvardin Professor, Dr. Darryll Pines, will deliver remarks and help kick off the competition events at 8:30 am on April 8. Participating Chesapeake District Championship students will have the opportunity to learn more about UMD and the engineering programs available through the Technology Lounge at the event.

This is the third year in a row UMD will host the FIRST Robotics Competition.

The public and guests are encouraged to register for the FIRST Stop program to see the competition action up close, meet the teams, and learn more about K–12 FIRST programs.

About the 2016 FIRST Robotics Competition

Dubbed a varsity Sport for the Mind™, the FIRST Robotics Competition combines the excitement of sport with the rigors of science and technology. The competition uses robotics as the “vehicle” to teach technical concepts as well as build leadership skills and develop teamwork.

Each January, FIRST kicks off the competition season by announcing a new game to be played at more than 125 events around the world. Teams receive a kit of common parts that are used to build the core systems of a robot, but they won’t find an instruction manual. In just six weeks, student teams conceptualize, build, program, and test robots before entering a regional or district competition. Winners of the regional and district competitions go on to compete at the FIRST Championship in St. Louis, Mo., at the end of April.

In this year’s game, FIRST STRONGHOLDSM, two alliances of three teams each are on a quest to breach their opponents’ fortifications, weaken their tower with boulders, and capture the opposing tower. Robots score points by breaching opponents’ defenses and scoring boulders through goals in the opposing tower. During the final 20 seconds of the quest, robots may surround and scale the opposing tower to capture it.

Click here for a full schedule of events.

Click here to register for the FIRST Stop guest program.

About Robotics at UMD

UMD is a leader in hands-on robotics engineering undergraduate and graduate education. Its Maryland Robotics Center is an interdisciplinary research center within the A. James Clark School of Engineering. The center advances robotic systems, underlying component technologies, and applications of robotics through research and educational programs that are interdisciplinary in nature and based on a systems approach.

The center's research activities include all aspects of robotics including development of component technologies (e.g., sensors, actuators, structures, and communication), novel robotic platforms, and intelligence and autonomy for robotic systems. Watch videos of robotics at UMD here.

The A. James Clark School of Engineering at the University of Maryland serves as the catalyst for high-quality research, innovation, and learning, delivering on a promise that all graduates will leave ready to impact the Grand Challenges (energy, environment, security, and human health) of the 21st century. The Clark School is dedicated to leading and transforming the engineering discipline and profession, to accelerating entrepreneurship, and to transforming research and learning activities into new innovations that benefit millions.

Follow us on Twitter @ClarkSchool.

Published April 4, 2016