NASA SPONSORS ROBOTICS COMPETITION
Hampton, Norfolk and Virginia Beach, Va., students will join
thousands of high school students from around the world to design
and build an original robot in the 2004 FIRST (For Inspiration and
Recognition of Science and Technology) Robotics Competition.
Sponsored by NASA's Langley Research Center and Virginia
Commonwealth University's School of Engineering, the fifth annual
regional robotics competition will be held on March 4-6 at the
Siegel Center in Richmond, Va. Over 60 teams will compete for
honors and recognition that reward design excellence, competitive
play, sportsmanship and high-impact partnerships between schools,
businesses and communities.
News media are invited to attend the competition. The competition
will also be broadcast via the Internet on Thurs., March 4 through
Sat., March 6 at:
Interviews and b-roll of the competition will also be available.
Interested media should call Kimberly W. Land, 757-864-9885 or
NASA Langley is again working closely with a team from the New
Horizons Regional Education Center in Hampton, Va. NASA and New
Horizons have formed a partnership enabling students to work along
side current and retired NASA engineers and technicians as well as
a top engineer from private industry.
Joanne Talmage, electronics teacher at New Horizons, is one of
the coaches for this year's team. "This is the best hands-on
project that allows students from multiple school systems to learn
to work with one another and form a cohesive team," says Talmage.
"The kids learn about gear ratios, strategizing and design concepts
while interacting with some of NASA's finest engineers and others
from various industries in the area."
In this year's challenge, "FIRST Frenzy: Raising the Bar,"
students design their robots to race around a playing field
collecting and passing 13-inch balls to human players who then
shoot the balls into fixed and moveable goals. Additionally, robots
may attempt to hang from a 10-foot bar.
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.
Once these young inventors create the robot, their teams
participate in regional competitions that measure the effectiveness
of each robot, the power of collaboration and partnerships, and the
spirit and determination of students.
This year's FIRST Robotics Competition anticipates its largest
season ever with 935 teams, including 220 rookie teams,
representing Brazil, Canada, Mexico, the United Kingdom, and nearly
every state in the U.S. The 2004 FIRST season is made up of 26
regional competitions, held in the U.S. and Canada, in March and
April. More than 600 students will compete to earn a spot at the
Championship held April 15-17 at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta,
FIRST is a non-profit organization, established in 1989 by Dean
Kamen, an entrepreneur and inventor with over 100 patents. FIRST's
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 join high school students with
professional engineers and technicians from industry and academia
to design, construct and operate the robots. The event has become
known as the "super-bowl" of engineering and the "the ultimate mind
For more information about FIRST Robotics, visit: