"BREAKAWAY" Revealed at SBPLI's 2010 FIRST Robotics Competition Regional Game Kickoff

"BREAKAWAY" Revealed at SBPLI's 2010 FIRST Robotics Competition Regional Game Kickoff

Students watch the live transmission from FIRST headquarters in New Hampshire to learn about the new game "BREAKAWAY" during the FIRST Robotics kickoff at Stony Brook University's Javits Center on January 9.

STONY BROOK, New York, January 9, 2010 - More than 500 teens from Long Island and Metro New York-area schools converged at the Javits Center at Stony Brook University for a local kickoff of the FIRST Robotics Competition (FRC) where they learned details of a new robotics game called "BREAKAWAY."

"FIRST is about giving kids the opportunity to build skill sets like analytical thinking to then develop what they may or may not use to build a robot; but they might use these skills to become a scientist, engineer, or inventor," said Dean Kamen, FIRST Founder, as he explained how what students learn from FIRST is very different from other sports. "Ten years from today, one of these students is going to be out in the world having done something extraordinary for a major, global problem."

Working with adult Mentors, FRC teams must determine their strategy and have six weeks to program, build, and test their robots to meet the season's engineering challenge. In the game "BREAKAWAY," two alliances of three teams compete on a 27-by-54-foot playing field with bumps, attempting to earn points by collecting soccer balls in goals. Additional bonus points are earned for each robot and suspended in air and not touching the field at the end of the match.

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.

This weekend's FRC kickoff was sponsored by School-Business Partnerships of Long Island (SBPLI), which has also sponsored the Long Island Regional FRC for the past eleven years. 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 Fred Breithut, President/Founder, SBPLI. "We are very proud to present the FRC kickoff as we prepare for the upcoming Long Island Regional FRC in March."

During the 2010 season, 48 teams from Long Island, New York City, New Jersey and Pennsylvania will convene at Hofstra University for the Long Island Regional FIRST Robotics Championship (FRC) on March 25-27, culminating in the 2010 FIRST Championship on April 15-17 at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta, Georgia.

"The next six weeks will be crucial for these students as they design and construct their robots for this competition," said William Hodrinsky, Director, SBPLI. "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."