March 24, 2008
Fifty-two teams from high schools in Southern California, Arizona and New Hampshire competed in the Los Angeles FIRST Robotics Competition last Friday and Saturday. Five teams, one sponsored by JPL and another sponsored by the Dryden Flight Research Center, will go on to the worldwide competition, to be held April 17-19 in Atlanta.
The teams from Hope Chapel Academy, Hermosa Beach; Delphi Academy, Lake View Terrace; and Dos Pueblos Engineering Academy, Goleta, won the overall regional competition. The Dryden-sponsored Lancaster High School, Lancaster, won the Regional Chairman's Award, so it will also participate in the final competition, as will San Diego's High Tech High School, which received the Engineering Inspiration Award.
FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) is part of NASA's Robotic Alliance Project. The students designed, built and tested the robots – which can stand up to six feet high and weigh up to 120 pounds – with the help of engineers. Thirty engineers at JPL worked with several of the teams for more than six weeks, and 70 more JPLers volunteered at the event.
In this year's "Overdrive" challenge, robots raced counterclockwise on a track roughly the size of a tennis court. In each two-minute-and-15 second round, robots scored points by pushing and passing huge rubber "Trackballs" around the field and over a six-and-a-half foot overpass. Robots had to operate by themselves for the first 15 seconds of each round, then students were allowed to control the robots for the remaining two minutes.
2008 Los Angeles Regional FIRST Robotics Awards
* Connotes JPL or other NASA-sponsored team
Media contact; Rhea Borja/JPL