[Offtopic] The FIRST Robotics Competition

stephen at melbpc.org.au stephen at melbpc.org.au
Mon Jan 5 02:13:02 EST 2009

Hi all,

Strongly believe in the FIRST program .. and yet am not sure Australia
has ever been involved, thus far .. to our collective school detriment.

 FIRST is simply the best Student Robotics event worldwide. 

I call on all Aussie Education Departments to hold SMART Regional Events.

"Lunacy" Unveiled to 42,000 High School Students at the 2009 FIRST
 Robotics Competition Game Kickoff    (Sat Jan 3, 2009 3:26pm EST)

FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology)
launched its eighteenth FIRST Robotics Competition season today with
a Kickoff of a new robotics game called "Lunacy" at Southern New
Hampshire University in Manchester, hometown and headquarters of FIRST. 

The FIRST Robotics Competition is an annual competition that helps
students discover the rewards and excitement of science, engineering,
and technology.

More than  42,000 high-school students on 1,686 teams from the U.S., 
Brazil, Canada, Chile, Germany, Israel, Mexico, the Netherlands, the
Philippines, Turkey, and the U.K. are participating in this year`s

In the "Lunacy" game, robots are designed to pick up 9" game balls and
score them in trailers hitched to their opponents` robots for points
during a 2 minute and 15 second match. 

Additional points are awarded for scoring a special game ball, the Super
Cell, in the opponents' trailers during the last 20 seconds of the match. 

"Lunacy" is played on a low-friction floor, which means teams must
contend with the laws of physics. 

At today`s Kickoff, teams were shown the game field and received a Kit
of Parts made up of motors, batteries, a control system, and a mix of
automation components - but no instructions. 

Working with mentors, students have six weeks to design, build, program,
and test their robots to meet the season`s engineering challenge. Once
these young inventors create a robot, their teams participate in
competitions that measure the effectiveness of each robot, the
power of collaboration, and the determination of students. 

Sponsored by NASA, PTC, Booz Allen Hamilton, and Worcester Polytechnic
Institute, the exciting Kickoff event gave teams the opportunity to see 
the new game for the first time. 

Teams across the nation and in Canada, and Israel watched the proceedings
via NASA TV broadcast or webcast from 52 local Kickoff sites, many of
which also offered workshops and a chance to meet other teams.

In 1992, the FIRST Robotics Competition began with 28 teams and a single
14 x 14 foot playing field in a New Hampshire high school gym. 

This season, 1,686 teams - including 322 rookie teams - will participate. 

Forty regional competitions in the U.S., Canada, and Israel, plus seven 
district competitions and one state championship in Michigan, will lead 
up to the 2009 FIRST Championship at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta, April 

FIRST programs are operated by over 85,000 dedicated volunteers 
worldwide, many of them professional engineers and scientists who mentor
the next generation of innovators. 

To find FIRST Robotics Competition events and teams in your area, visit
www.usfirst.org and click on the map in the top right corner. 


FIRST Founding Sponsors include Boston Scientific Corporation, Baxter
International Incorporated, The Chrysler Foundation, DEKA Research & 
Development Corp., Delphi Corporation, General Motors Corporation,
Johnson & Johnson, Keiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, Motorola Incorporated
and Xerox Corporation.

FIRST Strategic Partners include BAE Systems, The Boeing Company, FedEx
Corporation, General Motors Corporation, Johnson & Johnson, NASA, National
Instruments, Rockwell Automation, and Rockwell Collins. 

With the support of many of the world's most well-known companies, the
not-for-profit organization hosts the FIRST Robotics Competition and 
FIRST Tech Challenge for high-school students, the FIRST LEGO® League for 
children 9-14 years old, and the Junior FIRST LEGO League for 6 to 9 year-
olds. To learn more about FIRST, go to www.usfirst.org. 

Docs:  http://usfirst.org/community/resourcecenter.aspx?id=952
Video: http://usfirst.org/community/resourcecenter.aspx?id=652

Marian Murphy, 603-666-3906 ext. 409 (Office)
mmurphy at usfirst.org   Copyright Business Wire 2009

Cheers Marian
Stephen Loosley
Member, Victorian
Institute of Teaching

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