FIRST Newsletter - September, 2012 - More than 25,000 students will RING IT UP! in the 2012-2013 FIRST Tech Challenge game

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More Than 25,000 Students Will RING IT UP!SM in the 2012-2013 FIRST Tech Challenge Game

FTC launches a new robotics season game that challenges students to think like engineers and scientists

FIRST Tech Challenge (FTC) officially launched its 2012-2013 season with a series of live and online Kickoff events, unveiling this year’s game, RING IT UP!SM

Using a combination of motors, controllers, wireless communications, metal gears, and sensors, including infrared tracking (IR) and magnet seeking, about 25,000 students will program their robots to operate in both autonomous and driver-controlled modes on a field with a center rack. The object of the game is to score more points than an opponent by placing plastic rings onto pegs on the center rack.

Teams will be challenged to detect special “weighted” rings to earn bonus points. RING IT UP! matches will last two minutes and 30 seconds, beginning with a 30-second autonomous period followed by a two-minute driver-controlled period. The final 30 seconds of the driver-controlled period is the “end game,” where each team can score bonus points by lifting their Partner’s robot off the game floor to a maximum height of 24 inches.

FIRST Tech Challenge empowers students to think like engineers and scientists,” said Dean Kamen, FIRST founder and President of DEKA Research & Development Corporation. “There is no doubt in my mind that FTC students will solve society’s greatest challenges by employing the same disciplines and critical thinking that they’re bringing to this year’s FTC game, RING IT UP!"

“Hands-on, project-based learning has been the hallmark of FTC from its inception,” said Ken Johnson, Acting Senior Vice President & Chief Program Officer and Director, FIRST Tech Challenge. “The universal growth and acceptance of FTC can be tied directly to its continuing leadership and success in STEM-based education.”

During the 2012-2013 FTC season, an estimated 2,500 FIRST Tech Challenge teams will compete in events in the U.S., Australia, China, India, Mexico, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Romania, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, South Korea, Taiwan—and, new this year—Spain and Germany. The RING IT UP! season Qualifying and Championship events will culminate at the FIRST Championship, April 24-27, 2013, at the Edward Jones Dome in St. Louis, Missouri.

The 2012-2013 FIRST Tech Challenge Sponsors include Official Program Sponsor for the FIRST Tech Challenge, Rockwell Collins, and FTC CAD and Collaboration Sponsor, PTC®.

Register now for the RING IT UP! FTC season.


FTC Kickoff at Newton North High School

Regional FTC game kickoffs grow in popularity

Regional FTC Kickoffs help to build excitement and momentum for FTC; help educate the community

Dozens of regions around the globe hosted FTC Kickoff events to usher in the new 2012-2013 season of RING IT UP!

Regional FTC Kickoffs have grown in popularity since they promote awareness of FTC in the local community; they contribute to the excitement of the new season; and they offer the opportunity to share FTC best practices and the opportunity for field training and technical workshops.

For the second straight year, FTC CAD and Collaboration Sponsor PTC co-hosted a New England Regional Kickoff event to promote the excitement of FTC and RING IT UP! More than 300 people attended the Kickoff at Newton North High School, Newton, Massachusetts. Following opening remarks and a live streaming video feed of the new game’s Kickoff video and game animation, the game reveal allowed FTC participants a chance to witness the field set-up and ask questions of FTC program and Partner staff.

Building on previous years of supporting FIRST, PTC will sponsor 30 of the 2,500 FTC teams expected to participate in this year’s competition.

Robin Saitz, FIRST executive Sponsor said, “The FIRST Tech Challenge provides some of the most valuable, real-world experience for these high-school students as they learn how to work as a team to deliver a functional robot for competition. PTC is a proud, strong supporter of FIRST because we consider FIRST to be one of the best investments we can make in educating those that are the future of our industry.”

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International news service films FTC Kickoff

While doing an in-depth news story on NASA, NHK World, an international broadcast news service headquartered in Japan, asked NASA about organizations that do STEM-based education well. The response: FIRST.

According to NHK, four NASA facilities around the country all recommended the media outlet conduct extensive coverage of a FIRST program like FTC. As a result, NHK’s team of journalists flew into Boston to cover the FTC New England Kickoff at Newton North High School and spent the entire day interviewing FTC students, Coaches, Mentors, and Volunteers to understand the excitement around FIRST and FTC.

NHK World plans to air a news package on its broadcast and online outlets.

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