Teams Collect Prizes Like Moon Rocks in Regional Robotics Contest

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each match. In those five minutes, the teams must work out their winning strategies. This cooperation encourages “gracious professionalism“, a term that has been coined by FIRST co-founder Woodie Flowers.

All teams must use the same basic electronics and motors. The rest they must create and build quickly, with just a couple of thousand dollars. But these teen-agers actually get to build… a ROBOT!

FIRST founder Dean Kamen, the entrepreneur (and Xconomist) who invented the Segway, visited the San Diego competition Friday. He told the crowd that Lunacy is intended to pay homage to Apollo 11 this year, while NASA observes its 40th anniversary of landing a man on the moon. In welcoming competitors and guests, Kamen said the goal of the competition is to get American kids excited about science and engineering. He asked rhetorically: “Are we creating a culture that ensures that the hearts and minds of those generations after us will come to know that science is really a language of discovery? Are we making science cool?”

first-sd-robotics1During the competition, the audience, parents, and friends can visit the pits—they just need to wear safety glasses—and watch the students as they scramble to make repairs to their robots. That’s an opportunity you won’t get in a car race or a sports event.

Winners don’t get picked only by the number of balls collected, but by their team’s overall skill. The Regional Chairman’s Award, which is the most prestigious prize in the regional competition, was given Saturday to The Holy Cows, a team from San Diego’s High Tech High School, and their robot, Daisy May. Their motto is “Leading the Herd”. The High Tech High team advances to the FIRST championship competition that is scheduled for April 16th-18th in Atlanta.

The Midnight Mechanics, a team from the UC San Diego-affiliated Preuss School won the regional engineering inspiration award. The other robots and teams named as regional winners were:

Miss Daisy, Wissahickon High School, Ambler, PA.

Titan-BOT, Eastlake High School, Chula Vista, CA.

SWIFT, Plateau Valley High School, Collbran, CO

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