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Designing & Building FIRST Robots


Design engineers today are continually being challenged to create new, reliable, exciting, economical, and truly amazing products. Did you ever wonder where they might get their start or thirst for engineering? Well for some, it might just be by participating in the FIRST® Robotics Competition program at their school.

Queen City FIRST Robotics Competition   Queen City FIRST Robotics Competition   Queen City FIRST Robotics Competition

FIRST Robotics Competition

FIRST was originally founded in 1989 by inventor Dean Kaman in order to transform our culture by creating a world where science and technology are celebrated and where young people dream of becoming science and technology leaders. Based in Manchester, NH, the not-for-profit charity designs accessible, innovative programs that motivate young people to pursue education and career opportunities in science, technology, engineering and math. Several age groups/grade levels comprise the various levels and types of competition, starting in kindergarten.

The FIRST Robotics Competition is comprised of nearly 2,500 teams competing from all over the world, who are challenged to solve engineering design problems, resulting in intense competition. The 2014 competition began with over 32,000 students (grades 7-12) competing in 54 regional events; 4 qualifying championships and 40 district competitions.

The 2014 Queen City FIRST® Robotics Regional Competition was held in Cincinnati, Ohio at the Cintas Center on the campus of Xavier University. 55 teams were entered, representing nine states plus a team from Canada and one from China. The three-day event saw over 1,000 students compete for the chance to move on with hopes of reaching the nationals.

Clippard Instrument Laboratory, Inc., has long been a major contributor of parts for the robotic kits. At the 2014 Queen City competition, several Clippard employees were in attendance—some as spectators and some as volunteers. Laura Bendula and Victoria Kinne served not only as volunteers at the competition, but also as mentors at the local high school during the design and construction phases.

Laura, a Design Engineer at Clippard, was very impressed with the engineering expertise the students achieved with regards to CAD design, stress analysis and the use of 3D printing. She thought perhaps what may have been even more impressive was the team spirit and project commitment not only by those involved with the design, but the volunteers and fans who were there to cheer on the team.

Victoria was also impressed with the enthusiasm and the whole team concept. Victoria's experience as a robotics team member during her high school years gave her good insight to serve as a mentor, helping her to understand what this year's team was experiencing emotionally and competitively. She recalls that working with a mentor and applying classroom knowledge to an actual project were some of the most valuable experiences she received as a robotics team member during her high school years.

In addition to Laura and Victoria, Clippard had several others in attendance to cheer on the local Colerain High School team including: William L. Clippard, III, Chairman of the Board, John S. Campbell, President, and Robin Rutschilling, Production Manager.



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