Capitol College hosts kickoff of FIRST regional robotics competition

LAUREL, Md. — For the sixth consecutive year, Capitol College hosted the Maryland kickoff for the 2010 FIRST Robotics Competition Jan. 9 at the Laurel, Md. campus.

The FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) competition, supported by NASA and over 3,000 other sponsors, is a unique sport of the mind designed to help teenagers discover how interesting and rewarding careers in engineering can be.

The competition challenges teams of young people and their mentors to solve a common problem in a six-week time frame using a standard kit of parts and a common set of rules. Teams build robots from the parts and enter them in a series of competitions designed by FIRST founder Dean Kamen and a committee of engineers and other professionals.

The kickoff was attended by representatives from 30 teams of high school students from all across Maryland. Over 200 students and mentors from these teams watched a live worldwide broadcast from FIRST Headquarters in Manchester, New Hampshire that unveiled the rules of this year’s game, called “Breakaway.” Teams then picked up their kit of parts that will aid them on their six-week journey designing and building their robots.

In the “Breakaway” robotics game, two alliances of three teams will compete on a 27-by-54-foot field with bumps, attempting to earn points by collecting soccer balls in goals. Additional bonus points will be earned for each robot suspended in air and not touching the field at the end of the match.

Maryland teams and others from nine states will compete at the 2010 Chesapeake Regional event to be held at the Baltimore Convention Center on March 11-13. Altogether, the 2010 FIRST Robotics Competition will include more than 1,800 teams in 43 regional events, culminating in the FIRST Championship on April 15-17 at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta, Ga.

Capitol College is the only independent college in Maryland dedicated to engineering, computer science, information technology and business. Founded in 1927, Capitol is an accredited institution offering associate, bachelor’s and master’s degrees, as well as professional development training and certificates, and partnerships with government and industry. Capitol is designated as a National Center of Academic Excellence in Information Assurance Education by the National Security Agency and Department of Homeland Security. The college is located in Laurel, Md., a suburban setting midway between Washington, DC and Baltimore. Capitol is committed to providing a quality education that is technology-driven, accessible, affordable and practical.

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, NH, 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. With the support of many of the world’s most well-known companies, the not-for-profit organization hosts the FIRST Robotics Competition and FIRST Tech Challenge for high school students, the FIRST LEGO(R) League for children 9-14 years old and the Junior FIRST LEGO League for children 6-9 years old.

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