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FIRST Robotics Competition Celebrates Kickoff to Build Season!

This Year’s “Ultimate Ascent” Game Details Announced

FIRST Competition Student with CTL 2goPC E12VSaturday, January 5 marked the kickoff to the 2012-2013 FIRST Robotics Competition (FRC) season, where high school students across the globe design and build robots to compete against a field of competitors. FIRST, or For Inspiration of Science and Technology, is an international, mentor-based program that builds science, technology, engineering and math, or STEM, skills through a fun, team-building competition.

CTL and our 2go PC brand have proudly been a Gold-Level Sponsor of the FRC since 2009. Four years ago, CTL worked with FIRST to equip the FRC teams with 2,000 of our 2go Classmate PCs. Since then, we have been a resource to all the new teams for their 2go PCs, and will be supplying 700 CTL 2go PC E12V netbooks for the 2013 season. In this program for high school students, teams of 25 students or more are challenged to raise funds, design a team “brand,” and use their teamwork skills to design and program a robot that will perform prescribed tasks against a field of competitors. Professional mentors volunteer their time and talents to guide each team.

NASA, the largest sponsor of the FRC, broadcast the Kickoff nationwide on NASA Television from Southern New Hampshire University in Manchester. (Watch the video here.) Nearly 51,000 high-school students in 16 countries and 81 cities around the world joined the 2013 Kickoff via live NASA-TV broadcast/webcast. Each year at the Kickoff event, teams of high school students receive a kit of parts and detailed descriptions of the game their robots must play. In the past, robots have shot basketballs at hoops, placed inflatables on racks, and kicked soccer balls through goals. This year’s challenge, titled “Ultimate Ascent,” will require robots to throw Frisbees through goals on either end of the playing court, and then ascend a 90-inch-tall pyramid made of metal pipes.

Robots are allied in groups of three, so not each robot does the same thing. They will each get points for climbing, but some will play defense and some will pick up Frisbees to deliver to robots that specialize in throwing. Starting from the January 5 kickoff, the students have six weeks to design, build, and test the robots and then they must seal them in a bag until competition day. While teams are given a standard set of parts, they are also allowed a budget and encouraged to buy or make specialized parts as long as they conform to FIRST safety rules.

This season, a projected 2,550 teams – including 375 rookie teams – will participate. After build season is complete in late February, the competition season begins. Fifty eight Regional competitions in the U.S., Canada, and Israel, plus 17 District competitions, one State Championship, and one Regional Championship will culminate at the 2013 FIRST Championship at the Edward Jones Dome in St. Louis, Missouri on April 24-27.

CTL would like to wish all the teams the best of luck in the 2013 Ultimate Ascent competition!

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