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50 teams take part in Robotics kickoff event

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  • Craig Pletenik/Phoenix Union High School District

Phoenix Union High School District’s Central High hosted the FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) Robotics Kickoff event, January 3-4 for 50 high school robotics teams and some 700 students.

The teams were involved in workshops January 3 and on January 4, they watched, along with 70,000 high-school students around the world, a webcast from FIRST headquarters in New Hampshire, introducing this year’s task, and robot regulations.

Once the students were briefed, they picked up their parts kit, and began the six-week construction of their robots.

This year’s game, Aerial Assist, is played by two Alliances of three teams each.  Alliances compete by trying to score as many balls in goals as possible during a two and one/half minute match.   Robots work together to score goals, and throwing and catching balls over a truss suspended five feet above the floor.

“This is more than a game. This experience highlights what you will do in your career,” said John M. Grusfeld of NASA.  “Experience in this competition is similar uin many ways to how we design, build and test NASA robots.”