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Sally Harrington
Media Relations Office
216/433-5795
sally.harrington@nasa.gov

March 22, 2005
 
RELEASE : 05-009
 
 
High School Students Ready for Action at the Buckeye Regional Robotics Competition
 
 
After spending countless hours over a six-week period designing and building their teams' robots and developing their strategies for this year's FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) Robotics Competition, 42 teams of high school students are ready to participate in the fourth annual Buckeye Regional.

This fast-moving, action-packed event at the Cleveland State University Wolstein Center on March 24-26 will involve over 1000 students from Greater Cleveland, elsewhere in Ohio and from nine other states as far away as Missouri and New Hampshire. The event is open to the public and free.

The honorary chairman of this year's Buckeye Regional is Dr. Kathy Sullivan, former astronaut and current President and CEO of COSI (Center of Science and Industry) in Columbus, Ohio. The Buckeye Regional is sponsored by NASA's Glenn Research Center, corporations, educational institutions and organizations throughout the Greater Cleveland area.

"Through this competition students are introduced to engineering, science and technology and work together as a team to meet the challenge of creating a championship robot," said Glenn Director of External Programs John Hairston. "We expect many of them will pursue careers in these fields and may someday contribute to NASA's bold new missions in the exploration of the Earth, Moon, Mars and beyond."

The event will commence at 7:45 a.m. Thursday, March 24. After an inspection to ensure their robots meet all the criteria of the competition, the teams will participate in practice rounds throughout the day until 4:30 p.m. Between rounds they will work on any enhancements or repairs their robots may need and discuss their game strategies.

An opening ceremony on Friday at 9:30 a.m. is followed by seeding matches throughout the day. At 4:30 p.m. awards will be presented recognizing and rewarding creativity, achievement in Website design, entrepreneurship and more.

After Saturday's 9:30 a.m. opening ceremony, the seeding matches continue until noon, and at 1 p.m. the final rounds of the competition begin. At the 3 p.m. awards ceremony sportsmanship, safety, team spirit and various awards for rookie teams will be presented. The final four awards will be Regional Finalist, Regional Winner, Engineering Inspiration award and Regional Chairman's award.

This year the teams will compete in a game called "Triple Play." For 2 minutes and 15 seconds, the remote-controlled robots will race around the playing field collecting triangular-shaped game pieces called Tetras and strategically placing them to garner points. Human players on the sidelines will have an opportunity hand additional Tetras to their robots. Before the end of the round, the robots will try to scurry back to their end zone in order to gain additional points.

The Buckeye Regional is one of 30 regional events being held around the country. This annual nationwide robotics competition is conducted by FIRST, a nonprofit organization in Manchester, N.H. The 2005 Championship Event will take place at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta April 21-23.

This competition teams professionals from sponsoring corporations, colleges and government agencies with young people to solve an engineering design problem in an intense and competitive way. The students discover that the technological fields hold many opportunities and the basic concepts of science, math, engineering and invention are exciting and interesting. There are no losers in the FIRST robotics competition. As a result of the relationships formed between the students and mentors, the students who participate in this competition are creating their futures.

Through NASA's Robotics Education Project, 11 of the teams in the Buckeye Regional were awarded sponsorships to enable them to participate in this year's competition. An additional six teams were awarded team registration scholarships from Glenn's Educational Programs Office. Some Ohio teams will also benefit from donations made by the Jennings Foundation and the Gund Foundation. Each team also receives monetary support from corporate sponsors in their local areas.

Further information including a list of the teams competing in the Buckeye Regional, a list of the sponsors of the event, and additional information about the 42 teams competing can be found at http://www.firstbuckeye.org

For additional information about FIRST, go to http://www.usfirst.org

 

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