The 2018 Finger Lakes Regional FIRST Robotics competition has lured 50 high school teams that will combine robotics and video gaming . The annual robotics event takes place March 16 and 17 at the Gordon Field House and Activities Center at Rochester Institute of Technology.

POWER UP! is this year’s competition game, and the field is set to resemble the inner workings of a video game in which players are expected to score moving and raising “power cubes” across the different obstacles on the field, eventually climbing a central platform to “face the boss.”

“FIRST Robotics continues to provide student-competitors with interesting challenges, many based on their current interests. Video gaming has exploded today, and we’re looking forward to how this popular activity can be used as a way to encourage students to build 21st century life skills,” said Glen Pearson, Finger Lakes FIRST Robotics Regional director.

FIRST—For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology—also referred to as a “sport for the mind,” began in 1989 to spark interest in science through solving engineering problems in a friendly, yet intense competition.

Teams begin practice rounds at noon on Thursday, March 15, in the Field House. Competition begins on Friday, March 16, with opening ceremonies at 8:30 a.m. and first matches at 9 a.m., concluding the first day of matches at 5:45 p.m. Awards for FIRST Robotics Regional Volunteer of the Year and the Regional Woody Flowers Award, which recognizes a mentor’s ability to lead, inspire and empower individuals on a team, will be given at the end of Friday’s matches.