Press Release

Get first glimpse of high school team-built robots Thursday at NASA’s Marshall Center

By SpaceRef Editor
February 12, 2001
Filed under ,

What:

It’ll be a bit like “reality TV” – but, starring robots. For instance,
have you ever seen a robot shoot a ball into a 7-foot goal? Four
Huntsville-area high school engineering teams this week will be
demonstrating robots they designed and built for a national competition. The
event is in preparation for the annual engineering competition sponsored by
the FIRST Foundation (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and
Technology).

Each year, students across the country team with engineering mentors from
government, industries and universities to design, build and operate a
robot, all within six weeks. The robot must perform a sports-based game – a
game that changes each year. After the practice Thursday, the teams will
send their robots to regional competitions — held in March — before
attending the national competition in April.

Who:

Birmingham Mayor Bernard Kincaid; Madison District Court Judge M.
Lynn Sherrod; Russell Brown, president of DP Associates and immediate past
president of the Huntsville-Madison County Chamber of Commerce; Dr.
Frederick Cason, division chief of surgery at the University of Alabama at
Birmingham School of Medicine-Huntsville; Jim Kennedy, deputy director of
the Marshall Center.

Where:

Student engineering teams and robots from Lee High School in
Huntsville; Arab High School in Arab; Lincoln County High School in
Fayetteville, Tenn.; and Bob Jones High School in Madison. The Marshall
Center is sponsoring the Lee, Arab and Lincoln County teams. The Boeing Co.
is a co-sponsor of the Lee team and Daimler Chrysler is sponsoring the Bob
Jones team.

When: Thursday, Feb. 15, 1:45 p.m.

To attend: News media interested in covering the event should contact
Jerry Berg of Marshall’s Media Relations Department at (256) 544-0034

NOTE: Effective Jan. 1, all drivers requesting a visitor pass to Redstone
Arsenal will be asked at the gate to provide proof of liability insurance on
their vehicle if it is registered in Alabama. Failure to provide proof of
such insurance will result in denial of a pass, and drivers also may be
issued a citation. This is being done in compliance with Alabama’s Mandatory
Insurance Act.

Quick Facts about FIRST

The FIRST Robotics Competition is an annual event that began in 1992. Its
aim is to stimulate interest in science and engineering among students. More
information about FIRST can be obtained on the Web at:
http://www.usfirst.org

The competition changes each year, to present student teams with new
challenges. This year’s competition allows four teams to work together as an
alliance to try to achieve as high a score as possible in a two-minute
match. The playing field is a carpeted rectangular area with two 7-foot-high
goals, a dividing rail and a pivoting bridge in the middle of the field.
Points will be scored by placing balls into goals, moving the goals onto the
semi-stable bridge — which must be balanced at the end of a match — and
positioning the robots in the End Zone of the playing field.
Arab High School’s team, “The Dragon Slayers,” will attend the Kennedy
Regional at NASA’s Kennedy Space Flight Center, Fla., March 1-3.
Lincoln County High School’s team, “The Bird Brains,” will attend the NASA
Langley Regional at Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond, Va., March
8-10.

Lee High School’s team, “The Knight Riders,” will attend the Lone Star
Regional in Houston, Texas, March 15-17. Last year, the Lee High School
team, sponsored by the Marshall Center, beat more than 260 competitors to
capture two national awards.

All three Marshall-sponsored schools will attend the national FIRST
competition on April 5-7 at Walt Disney World’s EPCOT Center in Orlando,
Fla.

SpaceRef staff editor.