RI FIRST Tech Challenge Call for Volunteers

FIRST Res QThe 10th season of the Rhode Island FIRST Tech Challenge (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) hosted by New England Institute of Technology(NEIT) is underway.  NEIT is looking for technical professionals, educators, parents and all others interested in volunteering. Each season approximately 45 R.I. middle and high school robotic teams design, build and compete in the RI FIRST Tech Challenge.

We need you!

Adult volunteers are assigned key roles to keep the qualifiers and tournament on track.  No need to be an expert in robotics or engineering, just a willingness to support our R.I. students in their interest in technology.

Volunteer at a Qualifier!

Teams in R.I. advance to the state tournament by participating in a qualifying tournament.  The dates for the qualifiers are 11/14, 12/5, 12/19and 1/9/16.  Qualifiers run from 7:30 am until 4 pm. The work is fun and lunch is provided!

Volunteer at the State Tournament!

32 R.I. FTC teams will advance to the RI State Tournament out of 48 teams. The R.I. State Tournament is a held on 1/30/16 with set-up and prep on 1/29/16. Volunteers for State Tournament must have volunteered at one qualifying tournaments.

Hurry! Register with FIRST!

If you are interested in joining in the FIRST fun, you must register as a volunteer through the FIRST system. This information will be sent directly to the RI FIRST Affiliate Partner, Erin Flynn.  https://my.usfirst.org/FIRSTPortal/Login/VIMS_login.aspx

For more information on FIRST and the FTC Challenge go to www.usfirst.org. For more information on NE Tech go to www.neit.edu

Erin Flynn, RI FIRST Affiliate Partner at New England Institute of Technology                           800-736-7744 ext. 3462 or by e-mail at eflynn@neit.edu

Steps to register with the FIRST VIMS Volunteer Program

  1. Go to the Volunteer Information Matching System (VIMS) – https://my.usfirst.org/FIRSTPortal/Login/VIMS_login.aspx
  2. Create an account
  3. Apply to an event
    1. From Left Hand Navigation, click “Volunteer Role Applications”
    2. Click the button that says “Apply for an Event”
    3. Select “FTC”
    4. Select State/Province – “Rhode Island”
    5. Press “Find Event”
  4. You will find the qualifier dates of 11/14, 12/5, 12/19 and 1/9 as well as the 1/29-30 state tournament date listed.
  5. Select the event and fill out the application.
    1. Select roles in preference order you would like to apply to (1 being most preferred)
    2. Select days you are able to volunteer.
    3. Remember to add additional comments if you have specific restrictions on your time
    4. Click “Submit”
  6. You will be returned to the “Volunteer Role Applications” page.
  7. Repeat steps 3-5 to apply to multiple events.

Attached are in the instructions that can be found on the website as well. They provide screenshots of each of these steps.



FIRST Robotics Kick Off

On September 12th, Rhode Island FIRST Robotics held their Kick Off event on our East Greenwich campus.  During the event this years theme was announced, which is Res-Q.

Special thanks go out to Erin Foster and Steve Pothier from the Robotics Welding Division of Electric Boat.  Erin and Steve spoke to the RI FTC teams on the role that robotics plays at Electric Boat.

To request additional information about FIRST Robotics contact Erin Flynn by email at eflynn@neit.edu.

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RI FIRST Tech Challenge 10th Season!

You are invited!

RI FIRST Tech Challenge 10th Season!

2015-2016 Season Kick-off

Saturday September 12, 2015 

Calling all students, educators, parents, mentors, and volunteers who have an interest in robotics!  The Rhode Island FIRST Tech Challenge (FTC) sponsored by New England Institute of Technology invites you to the kick off the 2015-2016 robotic seasons!

The FIRST Robotic Kickoff will feature a keynote presentation from Electric Boat as well as workshops offered by RI students.  The 2016 game will be revealed for the first time.  Groups interested in establishing a FIRST Tech Challenge Robotic team are encouraged to attend.  Bring your robot and try out the new game! 

Saturday September 12, 2015

9:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.

Registration at 8:30 am 

New England Institute of Technology

One New England Tech Boulevard

East Greenwich, RI

Over 37 Rhode Island teams were involved in FIRST Robotics last season.  Students in grades 7-12 are eligible to participate in the FIRST Tech Challenge.  Don’t miss out! Teams are welcome to attend without their coach.  Please RSVP by September 8th to:  Erin Flynn, New England Institute of Technology, 401-739-5000 ext. 3462, eflynn@neit.edu.  For more information on FIRST Robotics go to http://www.usfirst.org/roboticsprograms/ftc. For more information on New England Tech go to www.neit.edu.

FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology)Our mission is to inspire young people to be science and technology leaders, by engaging them in exciting mentor-based programs that build science, engineering and technology skills, that inspire innovation, and that foster well-rounded life capabilities including self-confidence, communication, and leadership.

Attention Robotics Enthusiasts!

17-FIRSTIt’s time for middle and high school students who are interested in the STEM disciplines (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) to form a FIRST® (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) Tech Challenge robotics team through their school, civic group, home school or after-school program. The 2015-2016 FIRST® Kick-Off will be held on Saturday, September 12th, from 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. at New England Tech’s East Greenwich campus, located at One New England Tech Blvd. The theme for this year’s competition will be announced at that time.

This year marks the tenth season that New England Tech has served as the sponsor and host for this exciting robotics competition. Students involved in FIRST® learn how science and technology play a key role in the real world while gaining important life skills such as critical thinking, problem solving, communication and teamwork. New this season, teams will be using a new robot control system that utilizes Android devices and Java.  For more information, please visit www.usfirst.org

This year’s FIRST® state tournament will be held on Saturday, January 30, 2016, at NEIT’s Center for Automotive Technology, 101 Access Road, Warwick, RI.  Last year, 48 teams participated. The goal is to increase that number to 55 teams for the upcoming season. All middle and high school teams interested in participating in the state tournament must first compete in one of four pre-qualifier mini competitions to be held on November 7th, November 14th, December 5th and December 19th at NEIT’s East Greenwich campus.

Erin Flynn, NEIT’s Manager of Admissions Outreach and Events, serves as Rhode Island’s FIRST® Tech Challenge Affiliate Partner. She may be reached at 401-739-5000, ext. 3462 or at eflynn@neit.edu for more information.

RI robot maker building a bridge over workforce skills gap

New England Institute of Technology’s (NEIT) NEW Associate Degree program in Advanced Manufacturing Technology has been developed in conjunction with companies like Yushin America to address a critical need for its workforce.

The new Advanced Manufacturing Technology degree, as part of NEIT’s Bachelor’s degree in Manufacturing Engineering Technology, is designed to assist employers in hiring individuals with the right skills. Yushin America in Cranston, RI, has hired more than 60 NEIT graduates of the Manufacturing Engineering Technology program.

From Providence Journal:

Tom Gilbride, an automation and robotic technician, teaches and aligns a robot at the Yushin plant in Cranston. Governor Raimondo last month spotlighted the company as an example of advanced manufacturing — the high-tech, high-end descendant of the manufacturing that sustained Rhode Island for centuries before yielding to overseas competition. The Providence Journal/Mary Murphy

Nicholas Salcedo, a robotics technician at Yushin, an advanced manufacturer in Cranston, gets a robotic arm ready to run specified actions before it is shipped to a company in Texas to be integrated into that company’s automation. The Providence Journal/Mary Murphy


Rhode Islanders may do a double-take when they hear Governor Raimondo talk about manufacturing as a key to reviving the economy and creating jobs.

After all, isn’t manufacturing all about the past? Doesn’t she see all those closed brick factories?  Didn’t manufacturing jobs peak in the 1940s, and haven’t they been sliding ever since?

But Raimondo is talking about a different type of manufacturing, called advanced manufacturing, that produces precise, engineered-to-order, high-end products for the medical-device, defense, aerospace and other industries.

This manufacturing is all about the future, and it pays middle-income wages.

But she pointed out they are not the low-skill manufacturing jobs of the past, but newer, advanced manufacturing jobs that require highly trained workers. Rhode Island should be primed to take advantage.

“We need the skills to fill the jobs that are our opportunity,” she said.

After Raimondo visited the Yushin America facility in Cranston last month to outline her plan to create jobs and revamp the state’s workforce training system, I talked with Michael Greenhalgh, operations director at Yushin.

He said Yushin, a unit of Yushin Precision Equipment Co. Ltd. of Japan, is completing a $2-million expansion and wants to hire 14 more workers. Some would be at a starting pay of $12 to $13 an hour. Others would be paid about $50,000 a year.

But, Greenhalgh can’t find workers with the skills he needs.

But the real answer is more qualified candidates coming out of the vocational and technical schools or colleges, or better training of workers who are in transition from declining industries.

It’s a good idea, but I don’t think Rhode Island can wait years for a regional solution.

State leaders should already be working to figure out how to close the skills gap.

The state has fallen behind its neighbors in advanced manufacturing. But with the right focus and commitment, there’s no reason it can’t catch up and overtake its competitors.

Manufacturing, an old industry that’s retooling for the future, deserves a solid second look.

Source: John Kostrzewa: R.I. robot maker building a bridge over workforce skills gap – News – providencejournal.com – Providence, RI


If you would like additional information about any of New England Tech’s over 40 Associate, Bachelor’s, online and Master’s degree programs, including Advanced Manufacturing Technology.

More Information | Apply Now

Contact the Admissions Office at 800-736-7744 or email NEITAdmissions@neit.edu 

National Robotics Week: igus Celebrates with Robot Block Party

We will be there.  Will you?

From Design News:

At the end of this week, which is National Robotics Week 2015, igus will celebrate by exhibiting at the Rhode Island Robot Block Party. The plastic bearings leader — which also makes cables, cable carriers, linear bearings, and linear guides — will demonstrate its robot-related products at the event and provide robot giveaways to lucky winners during the event on Saturday, April 11.

The second-annual Robot Block Party will take place at Brown University’s Pizzitola Sports Center, between 12 p.m. and 4 p.m. The event is free and open to the public. It’s hosted by the Rhode Island School of the Future and the Humanity Centered Robotics Initiative at Brown. The non-profit Rhode Island Students of the Future uses youth robotics to engage young people in science, technology, engineering, math (STEM) and manufacturing through youth robotics.

More than 50 hands-on exhibits, demonstrations, and displays will be available at the party from schools, universities, companies, and non-profit organizations around the area, including Brown, the New England Institute of Technology, and Hasbro’s Animatronics Lab. Although this is a STEM event, all ages are welcome. The demonstrations and exhibit are focused on helping everyone, not just kids, discover how robots are being used in education, toy design, and manufacturing. You can find out more about the event and register for free tickets here.

Design News – STEM Connection – igus Celebrates National Robotics Week at the Robot Block Party.

2014-2015 FIRST Tech Challenge Winners

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The top four teams advancing to the Eastern Super Regional in Scranton PA in March will be #121 Aquidneck Island Robotics, #154 Burrillville, #5030 Mt. Hope HS and 8129 Warwick Veterans Memorial High School. 

Team in the Final match were  

Winning Alliance Award

This award will be given to the winning alliance represented in the final match of the competition, usually consisting of three teams.

#154 Burrillville, #8129 Warwick Veterans, #121 Aquidneck Island Robotics 

Finalist Alliance Award

This award will be given to the finalist alliance represented in the final match of the competition, usually consisting of three teams

#4531 Mt. Hope HS, #6217 The Fellowship, #5030 Mt. Hope HS 

FIRST Judges Awards 

Inspire Award

This formally judged award is given to the team that truly embodied the ‘challenge’ of the FTC program. The team that receives this award is chosen by the judges as having best represented a role model FTC Team. This team is a top contender for all other judging categories and is a strong competitor on the field.

Top 3 Teams for this award were: #121 Aquidneck Island, #5030 Mt. Hope HS, #6527 N. Kingstown HS,

The winner was #121 Aquidneck Island Robotics

Think Award

This judged award is given to the team that best reflects the “journey” the team took as they experienced the engineering design process during the build season. The engineering notebook is the key reference for judges to help identify the most deserving team.

Top 3 teams for this award were #8129 Warwick Veterans, #6527 N. Kingstown HS, #5030 Mt. Hope HS

The winner was #8129 Warwick Veterans Memorial High School

Connect Award

This judged award is given to the team that most connected with their local community and the engineering community.

The top 3 teams for this award were: #6527 N. Kingstown HS, #6217 The Fellowship, #6891 Central Falls HS

The winner was #6527 North Kingstown High School 

Rockwell Collins Innovate Award

The Rockwell Collins Innovate Award celebrates a team that not only thinks outside the box, but also has the ingenuity and inventiveness to make their designs come to life.

The top 3 teams for this award were: #154 Burrillville, #4531 Mt. Hope HS, #8129 Warwick Veterans

The winner was #154 Burrillville 

PTC Design Award

This judged award recognizes design elements of the robot that are both functional and aesthetic. All successful robots have innovative design aspects; however, the PTC Design Award is presented to teams that incorporate industrial design elements into their solution.

The top 3 teams for this award were: #4578 N. Providence HS, #6527 N. Kingstown HS, #5030 Mt. Hope HS

The winner was #4578 North Providence High School 

Motivate Award                                                                                                                                                 This judged award celebrates the team that exemplifies the essence of the FTC competition through team spirit and enthusiasm. They show their spirit through costumes and fun outfits, a team cheer or outstanding spirit.

The top 3 teams for this award were: #6217 The Fellowship, #9009 Scituate HS, #252 The Wheeler School

The winner was #6217 The Fellowship 

For more information on the FIRST Tech Challenge or programs at New England Tech contact Erin Flynn at eflynn@neit.edu or 401-739-5000

Clash of robots puts technology skills to test

Fantastic story in the Warwick Beacon highlighting the First Robotics competition that took place on our campus over the weekend. Congratulations to all who competed.

via Clash of robots puts technology skills to test – Warwick Beacon.

While most were focused on the big New England Patriots game, the students who participated in Saturday’s For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology (FIRST) competition proved that they, too, were the weekend’s real winners.

“I would say the majority of these kids do not participate in sports,” joked Warwick Veterans Memorial High School robotics team coach Larry West.  “They’ve put a lot of time and effort into this, and this contest gives kids another way to compete rather than through sports.”

Hundreds of students and spectators filled the New England Institute of Technology’s Center for Automotive Technology (NEIT) building with Super Bowl sized enthusiasm. They’d come for a competition featuring deflate-proof wiffle and ping-pong balls, and tech savvy young adults who’d journeyed for months to engage in futuristic robot skirmishes.

“We’ve put over 150 hours into this, definitely,” said lead programmer Kevin Sanita of the Veterans team, which goes by the name Cane Bots. “It’s intense.”

The daylong event was a flurry of activity that made Star Trek’s faster than light warp drive technology seem slow and outdated by comparison. Thirty-three teams, comprised of 250 middle and high school students from throughout the state, met to showcase robots that they’d designed, built and programmed.

“Today our hope is that the students participating enjoy the competition while at the same time use math and engineering principals to win,” said Steve Kitchin, NEIT’s Vice President for Corporate Education and Training.

The competition gives teens programming and prototype development experience and problem solving and team building skills while constructing robots to competition specifications. Winning teams go on to compete at regional and national competitions for college scholarships. Dozens of robots filled the center, partaking in a series of contests with serious sets of rules and guidelines.

“We understand that ensuring that young people have opportunities like this, and begin to think of careers in science and engineering, are critical to the future of our state,” said Congressman David Cicilline at the event. “In addition to being great fun, watching [students] do this gives us a lot of hope in the future of our state and country.”

Warwick’s contingent of students was well represented by both public and private schools, with Vets, Rocky Hill School and Bishop Hendricken participating.

“This is a culmination of their four months of efforts in trying to put this robot together to accomplish these tasks,” said Hendricken coach Rick Notardonato, whose team went through three robot designs this season. Their robot’s name is Robo Hawk. “This is an opportunity for them to do hands on learning that they don’t really have an opportunity to do in any of their classes, it’s really big for them,” he said.

The contest pits teams against one another as their robots completed automated- and team-guided tasks. The competition was closely monitored by referees and judges to ensure fairness and quality.

“I’m an engineer, and I think this is so important for kids. I absolutely love it,” said Helen Greathouse, who served as head judge for the eighth year. “There’s a gracious professionalism that’s such a big part of this event. We like to see teams helping each other. One team gave another a new battery; they loan each other tools. There’s almost an alliance between teams that may have never worked together before.”

The contest saw tremendous excitement early on with Warwick Vets team stunning the crowd by performing exceptionally well during an early round. Their high score came in the “Cascade Effect” event, where robots collect and strategically place wiffle and ping-pong balls.

“We’ve had one competition so far and we’re on our way to our second,” said Sanita after the round. “The first one, the autonomous part didn’t go exactly as planned, but it was very close. We got good points, we got 384 points in that round!”

“Did you see what Vets did during that round? That may be a national scoring record, that was an incredible performance,” said Hendricken coach Notardonato.

While the competition saw the Aquidneck Island, Burrillville and Mt. Hope teams advance to the Eastern Super Regional Tournament in Scranton, Pa. in March, the Warwick Vets team’s success in the competition was recognized when they received the competition’s Think Award.

According to competition rules, the judged Think Award is given to the team that best reflects the “journey” the team took as they experienced the engineering design process during the season. The team’s engineering notebook, a log kept throughout the year, is the reference used by judges in determining the award.

“This competition is a cross curricular format. There’s English used, the kids have to maintain a notebook for this, and math and programming go hand and hand,” said coach West. “I’m just really proud of the kids for getting together and working so well.”

Regardless of the final outcome, it was clear that all the students involved were winners for achieving so much from their positive experiences.

“I’d like to thank everyone involved in this, it’s been amazing,” said programmer Sanita. “Whether or not we win, it’s still amazing what we did, and it’s amazing what all these people here did.”

Read more at The Warwick Beacon.

NEIT to Host FIRST® Robotics Competition

NEIT_Logo_282_136_TAGEast Greenwich, RI – New England Institute of Technology will sponsor the ninth annual FIRST® (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) Tech Challenge on Saturday, January 31, 2015, from 9:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.  Serving as Rhode Island’s FIRST® Tech Challenge Affiliate Partner, NEIT will host 33 Rhode Island middle and high school robotics teams at the college’s Center for Automotive Technology located at 101 Access Road, Warwick, Rhode Island.

Accomplished inventor, Dean Kamen, founded FIRST® in 1989 to inspire an appreciation of science and technology in students through the fun of robotics. The goal is to engage students to develop problem solving, critical thinking, and innovative reasoning skills using custom-designed robots.  The participating Rhode Island teams will compete for the chance to travel to regional and national competitions.

New England Tech will serve as the central point of contact for all participating teams. The event is free and open to the public.  For more information on the FIRST® Tech Challenge, contact Erin Flynn, Manager of Admissions Outreach and Events at New England Tech at 401-739-5000, ext. 3462 or by email eflynn@neit.edu. To learn more about the FIRST® organization, please visit www.usfirst.org.

FIRST Robotics Qualifier is Saturday

FIRST events are open to the public and are free to attend.

Anyone interested in robotics and STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) fields will enjoy this competition. YES! Even math can be fun. Best times to observe the competition is 11 a.m. and 3 p.m.
FIRST Tech Schedule 2014-2015