Robots invade Portland! Frisbee-flinging machines compete this weekend

Portland is a city where young people go to retire!” Not so fast Portlandia—we know the needs of today’s workforce are driven by tech, digital, mobile computers, and robotics, and the smart young minds of Portland students are fully engaged.

Fortunately for the tech sector in the Northwest, kids here aren’t complacent. Instead, they’re preparing for tomorrow by building awesome competitive robots. This weekend bring your encouragement and support, and come see them at Portland’s Memorial Coliseum.

Back in December, Silicon Florist introduced you to Oregon FIRST Robotics, a program for teens that nurtures interest in technology and business skills – skills entrepreneurs use every day, but typically don’t learn until their first startup. Disguised as a varsity sport, FIRST catalyzes the tech workforce pipeline by instilling a maker / builder / developer / engineering passion in kids, making geeks cool. These local students find themselves engrossed in applying their STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) studies to building colossally capable robots, as well as learning teamwork, marketing and all-night builds, then before they know it, realize they have a huge head start on a tech or engineering career.

“Education is directly tied to Oregon’s prosperity and we, as a community, need to ensure our kids are prepared to compete for the high-paying, high-tech jobs of the future,” said Deb Mumm-Hill, Northwest Regional Director of the program. Jobs forecasting data indicates there will be over 44,000 computer jobs in Oregon by 2018 that will require proficiency in computer systems, programming and technical skills. Programs like FIRST help guarantee Oregon students will be equipped with the knowledge to fill those jobs.

This weekend, come see them in action as more than 60 teams – thousands of students – from across Oregon & SW Washington meet for a two-day, tournament style face-off of their remote-controlled iron giants playing competitive Frisbee golf. Against a backdrop of roaring music, costumed fans and quick, exciting matches in the purpose-built arena at Portland’s Memorial Coliseum, this competition is a great time for anyone interested in programming, robots or engineering, and might just be where you just might meet your next intern (or manager). It’s big, bright, vibrant and raucous, FREE and open to the public.

  • What: A Competitive Robotics Tournament
  • Where: Portland’s Memorial Coliseum at the Rose Quarter
  • Cost: FREE
  • When: Friday and Saturday, March 8-9, All Day
  • Who: Robotics enthusiasts, young and old

Unlike other events where spectators don’t have access to the competitors, at the Autodesk Oregon FIRST Robotics Competition guests are encouraged to walk through “pit row” and talk with the students building these incredible machines. What better way than robots to get students excited about putting their technology passions and science studies into action?

Join the excitement and support the students this weekend who built these incredible robots. Prepare to be amazed and entertained as these Frisbee golf-playing, pyramid-climbing robots come to life!

[Editor: Thank you to Jason Love of Waggner Edstrom for this post.]

[Robot image courtesy Shutterstock. Used with permission.]