FIRST Robotics' 2010 Competition coming to Wayne State

DETROIT - With six weeks of preparation behind them, 40 high school robotic teams from Southeast Michigan will descend on the Mathaei Athletic Facility at Wayne State University March 19 and 20 for the FIRST Robotics 2010 Detroit District competition.

FIRST in Michigan is hosting seven district competitions over each weekend this month, culminating with the FIRST Robotics Michigan State Final. FIRST Robotics (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) is an international phenomenon that evokes passion and fortitude in students who are exploring careers in science, engineering, math, medical technology and related fields.

The public is welcome to join the charged-up atmosphere guaranteed for each FIRST Robotic event. The pits open at 9 a.m. Friday and 7:30 a.m. Saturday. Below is the full schedule for the Detroit District competition:

 Friday, March 19, 2010
Saturday, March 20, 2010
  • Opening ceremonies: 10:30 a.m.
  • Matches begin: 11:00 a.m.
  • Lunch break: 1:00 p.m.
  • Matches resume: 2:00 p.m.
  • Matches end: 6:30 p.m.
  • Pits close: 7:30 p.m.

  • Volunteers, Judges and officials arrive: 6:30 a.m.
  • Pits open: 7:30 a.m.
  • Opening ceremonies: 8:30 a.m.
  • Matches begin: 9:00 a.m.
  • Alliance selection: 12:30 p.m.
  • Lunch break: 1:00 p.m.
  • Elimination matches begin: 2:00 p.m.
  • Awards ceremony: 5:00 p.m.

As with most high school sports, the districts provide the means for 64 teams to qualify for the Michigan State Championship, April 1-3 at Eastern Michigan University, based on points and awards. From there, 18 teams will be eligible to advance to the international FIRST Championship in Atlanta, Ga.

"The FIRST Robotics Competition's district model is very much like traditional varsity sporting events where families, classmates, local government officials, media and businesses will come to cheer on their teams and discover how engineering and science can be exciting and rewarding," said Francois Castaing, president of FIRST in Michigan.

The districts are the result of a pilot program run in Michigan last year for the national FIRST organization. It successfully brought more events closer to home, streamlined logistics and lowered costs - allowing 140 teams to register to compete in FIRST Robotics. Costs also were lowered in such a way that Michigan teams could compete at two districts for the former price of one regional event in other states.

"We need a steady flow of new engineers and technicians who will help existing and new industries tackle international competition and environmental challenges," Castaing said. "Bringing district events closer to home and doubling the number of competitions per team for the same amount of money is key to reaching Michigan's engineering needs."

Game description:

The 2010 game is called "Breakaway" and in its simplest form could be called a soccer match between two teams of three robots each. Points will be scored by kicking or pushing balls into your own goal on a field divided into three equal parts. The field dividers include a 12-inch mound that robots can climb over, and a small tunnel area the robot must be short enough to go under. More points can be scored in the closing seconds by robots that hang from bars above two tunnels or additional points are awarded if a second robot can hang from a first robot on the same team (alliance).

For more information about FIRST Michigan and other competitions taking place throughout the state, visit:

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