Lori Rachul
Glenn Research Center

February 23, 2009
RELEASE : 09-007
'Lunacy' to Prevail at High School Robotics Competition
CLEVELAND--Thousands of high school students will unite for a robotics competition that combines extreme sports with engineering and technology February 26-28 in downtown Cleveland. This year 59 teams will face off for the FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) Buckeye Regional Robotics Competition.

This free three-day event will be held at Cleveland State University's Wolstein Center and is open to the general public from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Thursday is a designated practice day, and competition rounds will take place all day Friday and Saturday.

Teams from Greater Cleveland and throughout Ohio, as well as from Florida, Indiana, Maryland, Michigan, Pennsylvania and South Carolina will be competing. For a complete listing of the teams competing, visit:

This year's game will be called "Lunacy," in recognition of this year's 40th anniversary of the first moon landing. The playing field will have a special low-friction floor, which means the teams must contend with the laws of physics. The robots will be equipped with slippery wheels and carry a trailer. During each two-minute-and-15-second match, robots are designed to pick up 9-inch game balls, called "Moon Rocks," and shoot them into the opponents' trailer to score points. Additional points will be awarded for scoring a special game ball in the opponents' trailers during the last 20 seconds of the match.

The student teams have been working with teachers and mentors for the last six weeks with an identical kit of parts, but no instructions, to design, build, program and test their robots to meet this season's engineering challenge. Participating in the competition gives students a glimpse of what engineering is all about and provides them the opportunity to gain experience in teamwork, time management and problem solving.

Teams will compete for honors and recognition that rewards design excellence, competitive play, sportsmanship and high-impact partnerships between schools, businesses and communities.

The Buckeye Regional is sponsored by NASA's Glenn Research Center along with corporations and academic and nonprofit organizations throughout Ohio. It is one of 40 regional competitions across the United States, Canada and Israel that lead up to the 2009 FIRST Championship at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta, April 16-18.

FIRST is a nonprofit organization founded in 1989 by inventor and entrepreneur Dean Kamen to inspire an appreciation of science and technology in young people, their schools and their communities. Based in Manchester, N.H., FIRST designs accessible, innovative programs to build self-confidence, knowledge and life skills while motivating young people to pursue opportunities in science, technology and engineering.

For more information about the FIRST Buckeye Regional Robotics Competition, visit:

For more information about FIRST, visit:


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