For Release: March 4, 2002
Kimberly W. Land
Office of Public Affairs
NASA Langley sponsors third annual competition in Richmond
After six weeks of intense design and construction of their own
original robot, high school students nationwide, including Hampton,
Norfolk and Virginia Beach, Va., will demonstrate their science,
mathematics and technology skills in the FIRST (For Inspiration and
Recognition of Science and Technology) Robotics Competition.
Sponsored by NASAs Langley Research Center and Virginia
Commonwealth Universitys School of Engineering, the third
annual regional robotics competition will be held on March 7-9 at
the Siegel Center in Richmond, Va. About 67 teams will compete for
honors and recognition that reward design excellence, competitive
play, sportsmanship and high-impact partnerships between schools,
businesses and communities.
The NASA Langley event is the largest of 17 FIRST regional
robotics competitions held nationwide, with Langley sponsorship of
21 teams. Again, Langley is working closely with a team from the
New Horizons Regional Education Center in Hampton, Va.
NASA Langleys Jeff Seaton is playing a lead role again in
this years competition. He is supported by researchers from
NASA Langleys Aerospace Systems, Concepts & Analysis
Competency, Systems Engineering Competency, Aerodynamics,
Aerothermodynamics, and Acoustics Competency, Office of the Chief
Information Officer, and several retired NASA engineers and
community volunteers. Seaton has worked with the FIRST program for
the past six years.
"This program really is about changing lives. It is the first
opportunity for many of these students to realize that math and
science are actually practical even required, to solve
real-world problems," says Seaton. "Mentored by men and women who
solve impossible problems every day, in creating these
robots, the students realize that they can do the
impossible as well."
Each year, FIRST develops the robotics competition by supplying
a "problem" and a kit of parts to teams of students. Each team has
just six weeks to organize, design, build, program and test its
robot for competition. In this years game, "Zone Zeal,"
robots are designed to collect soccer balls, put them into goals,
then move those goals into specified zones in order to earn points
all in less than two minutes.
Currently in its eleventh year, the FIRST Robotics Competition
anticipates its largest season ever with more than 600 teams from
as far away as Brazil, Canada, and the U.K. More than 15,000
students will compete in the various regionals to earn a spot at
the Championship held April 25-27 at Walt Disney Worlds Epcot
in Orlando, Fla.
FIRST is a non-profit organization established in 1989 by Dean
Kamen, an entrepreneur and inventor with over 100 patents.
FIRSTs mission is to stimulate student interest in math and
science. In 1992, FIRST began organizing a national robotics
competition. The goal of the program is to match high school
students with professional engineers and technicians from industry
and academia to design, construct and operate the robots, inspiring
them to pursue careers in mathematics, science, and engineering.
The event has become known as the "super-bowl" of engineering and
the "the ultimate mind sport."
News media are invited to attend the competition. The
competition will be broadcast via the Internet on Friday, March 8
and Saturday, March 9 at http://robots.larc.nasa.gov. Interviews
and b-roll of the competition will also be available. Interested
media should call Kimberly W. Land, 757-864-9885 or
text-only version of this release