“ULTIMATE ASCENT” Revealed at SBPLI’s 2013 FIRST® Robotics Competition Regional Game Kickoff

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Students watch a live video message from Dean Kamen, Founder, US FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology), that was transmitted from FIRST headquarters in New Hampshire to learn about the new game “ULTIMATE ASCENT” during the FIRST Robotics kickoff at Stony Brook University’s Javits Center on January 5.

More than 800 teenagers from Long Island and metropolitan New York-area schools converged at the Javits Center at Stony Brook University on January 5 for a local kickoff of the FIRST® Robotics Competition (FRC®) where they learned details of a new robotics game called “ULTIMATE ASCENT”

“FIRST isn’t about competing, it’s about cooperating and recognizing that, if you have the right tools, you’ll be able to make this world a better place for yourself and for the country,” said FIRST Founder Dean Kamen. “There is no stimulus package that will have as much return as stimulating a bunch of kids to become the workforce of the future, the problem solvers, the creators of the future.”

Working with adult Mentors, FRC teams must determine their strategy and have six weeks to build, program, and test their robots to meet the season’s engineering challenge. In the game “ULTIMATE ASCENT,” two alliances of three teams compete on a 27-by-54-foot playing field as they try to shoot as many flying discs into their goals as possible during the 2-minute, 15-second match. Discs scored in higher goals score Alliances more points. Alliances are awarded bonus points if they are balanced on bridges at the end of the match. Matches end with robots attempting to climb up pyramids located near the middle of the field.

In addition, SBPLI held a special session for the students’ parents in which they learned about the organization, its mission and the impact of the robotics programs on the students’ lives, both academically and professionally. The parents also learned that the 2013 SBPLI Regional event could be the last one without substantial new funding. An interactive session followed in which the parents provided suggestions for fundraising activities and ways to reach other parents in the program.

At Saturday’s kickoff, teams were shown the game field and received a kit of parts made up of motors, batteries, a control system, a PC, and a mix of automation components — but no instructions. Once these young inventors create a robot, their teams participate in competitions that measure the effectiveness of each robot, the power of collaboration, and the determination of students.

The FRC kickoff was sponsored by School-Business Partnerships of Long Island, Inc. (SBPLI), which has also sponsored the Long Island Regional FRC for the past thirteen years, and Stony Brook University. Sponsors provide resources including time and talent from professional mentors, services, equipment, financial contributions, and/or volunteers.

“This proves to be an exciting time for the students and the mentors when they learn the name and the rules of the game for this year’s FIRST Robotics Competition,” said Ginny Greco, FRC Director, SBPLI. “We are very proud to present the FRC kickoff as we prepare for the upcoming Long Island Regional FRC in April.”

During the 2013 season, 50 teams from Long Island, New York City, the surrounding area and the Republic of Brazil will convene at Hofstra University for the Long Island Regional FRC on April 4-6, culminating in the 2013 FIRST Championship on April 24-27 at the Edward Jones Dome in St. Louis, Missouri. 

“The next six weeks will be crucial for these students as they design and construct their robots for this competition,” Ms. Greco said. “The Long Island Regional FIRST Robotics Competition showcases the talents of these students who learn not only the basic technological aspects of building their robots, but also about other concepts such as teamwork, problem solving and gracious professionalism.” 

For more information, visit http://www.sbpli.org.

Janet Anderson, member of the FRC Development Council of School-Business Partnerships of Long Island, Inc., addresses parents at a special session at the FIRST Robotics season kickoff where they learned more about the organization, its mission and its positive impact that robotics has on the students and everyone else involved.