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Top Robotics Teams to 'Rack and Roll' Atlanta's Georgia Dome
After 37 grueling regional tournaments, the top high school robotics teams from the United States and abroad will battle this weekend for top honors.

On April 12-14, 344 of the top FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) Robotics teams will gather at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta to determine the FIRST Champions for 2007.

The public and the news media are invited to attend the tournament for free but for those who can't travel to Atlanta, NASA can help you follow your favorite teams.

Left: Robots jockey for position to place inner tubes on the multi-tiered rack system. Photo credit: FIRST Robotics.

During the event, NASA will broadcast the tournament live on NASA TV and nasa.gov as well as on the NASA Robotics Alliance Project (RAP) website. Visit http://www.nasa.gov/ntv and http://robotics.nasa.gov for the latest viewing opportunities.

In 2007, more than 1,000 high school teams from the United States, Canada, Mexico, Puerto Rico, Brazil, Great Britain and Israel participated in 'Rack and Roll', the FIRST game scenario for 2007. 'Rack and Roll,' mixes engineering skills and strategy with a little fast-thinking math. Points can multiply rapidly as each alliance of three teams fight to place their colored inner tubes on consecutive spots on the central multi-tiered rack system. Before the match ends, the alliance can earn bonus points by raising their robots off the playing surface. A summary of the rules and game animation is available on the FIRST Robotics website at http://www.usfirst.org/community/frc/.

Left: The pit area at the Silicon Valley Regional. Photo credit: NASA/Dominic Hart.

NASA's collaboration with FIRST is coordinated through the Robotics Alliance Project at NASA Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, Calif. Through RAP, NASA provides team sponsorships, Web and broadcast support and help with event sponsorships and logistics support. For 2007, NASA headquarters and 10 NASA field centers sponsored more than 200 teams, with more than 60 qualifying for the championship tournament. The RAP portable machine shop, along with NASA technicians, also will provide support for all the teams at the championships.

Related Story: Machine Shop Keeps Robots Rolling.

Do you find robotics fascinating? Want to learn more? Visit the NASA Robotics Alliance Project website. NASA's RAP can serve as your warehouse for robotics lessons, resources and information.

Championship Schedule
Who: 344 top high school FIRST robotics teams
What: 2007 FIRST Robotics Championship
When: Thursday, April 12, 2007  
  9:00 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. EDT Practice Rounds
  Friday, April 13, 2007  
  8:30 a.m. - 10:00 a.m. EDT Opening Ceremonies
  10:00 a.m. - 5:30 p.m. EDT Qualification Rounds
  Saturday, April 14, 2007  
  8:45 a.m. - 12:15 p.m. EDT Qualification Rounds and Alliance Pairings
  1:00 p.m. - 3:00 p.m. EDT Division Final Rounds
  3:00 p.m. - 3:30 p.m. EDT Division Awards Ceremony
  4:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m. EDT Championship Rounds and Award Ceremony
Where: Georgia Dome, 1 Georgia Dome Drive, N.W., Atlanta, Ga.
Jonas Dino
NASA Ames Research Center