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12-06-2011

Twenty-four Teams Compete in FIRST Tech Challenge Championship Robotics Tournament at Clarkson University

[A photograph for media use is available at http://www.clarkson.edu/news/photos/ftc-2011.jpg .]

The fifth annual FIRST Tech Challenge Championship Tournament was held December 2 at Clarkson University. The event drew high school students from as far away as Connecticut, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and western New York.

Students from Ogdensburg Free Academy participated in the fifth annual FIRST Tech Challenge Championship Tournament in Walker Center at Clarkson University. The tournament drew over 200 high school students from four states. Shown here are Ogdensburg (N.Y.) Free Academy Blue Devil Robotics team members Nick Crawford, Matt Ahrens, and DJ Swan.The 24 teams filled Walker Center for the highly competitive event. Team Ampere from Upper Dublin, Pa., captured the coveted Inspire Award and is eligible to compete in the World FIRST Championship Tournament in April 2012.

This year’s game, “Bowled Over,” required students to design, build and program a robot that can capture balls, deposit them into crates and stack the crates as well as secure a bowling ball on top of a raised platform.

After several individual rounds, the top-scoring teams formed four alliances of three teams each. These alliances used their combined robotic power, maneuverability and strategic programming to determine the semi-final challenge alliances. These challengers competed for the ultimate competition honors.

The 2011 Winning Alliance was captained by Say Watt? Robotics from Edison, N.J., and included Robo Mustangs from Putnam Science Academy in Connecticut and Shenanigans from Thousand Islands Central School in Clayton, N.Y.

The runner-up Finalist Alliance consisted of Ampere from Upper Dublin, Pa., and included the MFS Foxes from Moorestown (Pa.) Friends School and Blue Devil Robotics from Ogdensburg (N.Y.) City School District.

Teams were also presented with awards for excellence in specific aspects of contest. The following are the awards and respective winners:

- Rockwell-Collins Innovate Award for ingenuity and inventiveness in the robot design: Say Watt? Robotics from Edison, N.J.

- PTC Design Award, which challenges teams to incorporate industrial design principles into their robots: MFS Foxes from Moorestown, N.J.

- Motivate Award, celebrating a team’s spirit and enthusiasm: Franklin Academy from Malone, N.Y.

- Connect Award which recognizes a team’s ability to connect with its local community and the engineering community: Robo Mustangs from Putnam, Conn.

- Think Award, reflecting the team’s experiences with the engineering design process: The Thunderbots from WSWHW BOCES in Glens Falls, N.Y.

The tournament is hosted by the Northern New York Robotics Institute, a local higher education consortium, directed by Clarkson University Electrical & Computer Engineering Professor James Carroll.

It is also sponsored by the “Connect a Million Minds” initiative of Time Warner Cable, General Electric Corporation, St. Lawrence-Lewis BOCES, and Clarkson University .Coordination and logistical support for the tournament is provided by Clarkson’s Office of Educational Partnerships.

Accomplished inventor Dean Kamen founded FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) in 1989 to inspire an appreciation of science and technology in young people. Based in Manchester, N.H., FIRST designs accessible, innovative programs to build self-confidence, knowledge, and life skills while motivating young people to pursue opportunities in science, technology, and engineering.

Clarkson University launches leaders into the global economy. One in five alumni already leads as a CEO, VP or equivalent senior executive of a company. Located just outside the Adirondack Park in Potsdam, N.Y., Clarkson is a nationally recognized research university for undergraduates with select graduate programs in signature areas of academic excellence directed toward the world’s pressing issues. Through 50 rigorous programs of study in engineering, business, arts, sciences and health sciences, the entire learning-living community spans boundaries across disciplines, nations and cultures to build powers of observation, challenge the status quo, and connect discovery and engineering innovation with enterprise.

Photo caption: Students from Ogdensburg Free Academy participated in the fifth annual FIRST Tech Challenge Championship Tournament in Walker Center at Clarkson University. The tournament drew over 200 high school students from four states. Shown here are Ogdensburg (N.Y.) Free Academy Blue Devil Robotics team members Nick Crawford, Matt Ahrens, and DJ Swan.

[News directors and editors: For more information, contact Michael P. Griffin, director of News & Digital Content Services, at 315-268-6716 or mgriffin@clarkson.edu.]

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