Teams from Baltimore and Annapolis area attend Robotics Competition

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DSC 2377[1]Eight high schools from the Baltimore and Annapolis areas are joining students from 11 states to showcase their work after an intense six weeks of designing and building an original robot in the FIRST® Robotics Competition at the Baltimore Convention Center this weekend.

Teams from 63 high schools and engineering and technical mentors are demonstrating their skill for science, mathematics, and technology in the 10th Annual Chesapeake Regional March 8 to 10. They are competing for honors that reward design excellence, competitive play, sportsmanship, and high-impact partnership between schools, businesses, and communities.

Founded by inventor Dean Kamen, FIRST® (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) was created to inspire an appreciation of science and technology in young people, their schools, and their communities. Now in its 21st season, the FIRST Robotics Competition anticipates close to 2,343 teams from 49 states in the United States, Australia, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Dominican Republic, Germany, Israel, Mexico, Taiwan, Turkey, and the United Kingdom to compete in 52 regional competitions. More than 1,200 students will compete at the Chesapeake Regional to earn a spot at the FIRST Championship to be held April 25 to 28 at the Edward Jones Dome in St. Louis, Mo.

This year’s competition, “Rebound Rumble,” is a 3-on-3 robotics basketball game played between two Alliances of three teams each. Each Alliance tries to shoot as many basketballs in the hoops as possible during the two-minute and 15-second match. Balls scored in higher hoops score teams more points. Team Alliances are awarded bonus points if their robots are balanced on bridges at the end of the match.

“I don’t think any great innovator or technologist got up in the morning trying to do something really big, really innovative, because they wanted a job,” said Kamen, who is president of DEKA Research & Development Corporation. “If we create a generation of passionate, smart, well-educated, informed kids willing to take educated risks as they try new things. If we create a passionate generation that understands the power of technology and how to apply it, trust me—they’ll have jobs. That’s a consequence of what they’ll have. If FIRST succeeds, we’ll have a rebirth of a society that believes in a future that can and has to be better than the past. We’re going to make sure we build a 21st century, a future that’s way more exciting than the 20th century.”

Over a six-week timeframe, students work with professional engineering mentors to design a robot that solves a problem using a Kit of Parts and a standard set of rules. Once these young inventors create the robot, their teams participate in regional competitions that measure the effectiveness of each robot, the power of collaboration, and the determination of students.

Area schools sending teams to the regional competition include South River High School in Edgewater, Patriots Technology Training Center and Central High School in Seat Pleasant, Chesapeake High School in Pasadena, Atholton High School in Columbia, Hammond High School in Columbia, Charles Herbert Flowers High School in Springdale, Bowie High School in Bowie and Mount Hebron High School in Ellicott City.

Chesapeake Regional FIRST Robotics Competition sponsors and volunteers include Booz Allen Hamilton, Lockheed Martin, NASA, Bechtel, General Dynamics, Northrop Grumman, Raytheon, US Army and Army ROTC, and SAIC. Sponsors provide resources including time and talent from professional Mentors, services, equipment, financial contributions, and Volunteers.

This season, participating FIRST students are eligible to apply for more than $14 million in scholarships from 130 leading universities and colleges.

To learn more about FIRST, go to .