|Students Win Robotics Basketball Tournament||03.28.06|
|It may not be the final four, but it's definitely an exciting
time for some Southern California high school students who won a
regional game of robotics basketball. Now they're heading to the
finals in the FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology)
competition next month.
Image right: Student-build robots compete in FIRST's regional basketball tournament. Image credit: NASA/JPL
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The students and their customized robots, with precision parts and shooting
capabilities, defeated 47 other teams during the regional competition held
this past weekend at the Great Western Forum in Inglewood, Calif. About 20
engineers from NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif., helped
students in building the robots and provided technical advice during the competition.
"These students built some amazing robots that could compete in a game that
combines the elements of basketball, soccer and rugby," said Brian Muirhead,
JPL's chief engineer and a judge at the competition. "This was a wonderful
opportunity for students who are interested in engineering and science to
work with mentors and a team to accomplish something extraordinary they will
treasure their entire lives."
The competition was one of 30 regional contests held around the country. More than
340 teams from around the world will next compete in the national robotics
competition at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta, April 27 through 29. The championship
team alliance, made up of three teams, will work together in the national competition.
The team includes West Covina High School, High Tech High School in Los Angeles, and
Chaminade College Preparatory in West Hills.
FIRST is a non-profit organization whose mission is to generate an interest in science
and technology. Dave Lavery, NASA's Program Executive for Solar System Exploration,
is also in charge of NASA's involvement with the FIRST robotics competition.
"NASA and JPL are involved in FIRST because we believe in investing in the future,"
Lavery said. "These students are the scientists, engineers and technologists who are
going to drive the economy for the next several decades."
JPL/NASA-sponsored teams also earned several awards at the regional competition:
Regional finalists included:
- Hope Chapel Academy, Hermosa Beach
- Granada Hills Charter High School
- Mark Keppel High School, Alhambra
Imperial Valley MESA Program, El Centro
Industrial Design Award:
Granada Hills Charter High School
Don Pueblos High School, Goleta
More information about the competition is available online at http://www.usfirst.org/ .
More information on NASA's Robotics Education Project is online at
Natalie Godwin (818) 354-0850
Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif.