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Clarkson University Hosts FIRST Robotics Championship Tournament Friday & Saturday at Walker Center

[A photograph for media use is available at]

Robots and their handlers will invade Walker Center this weekend when Clarkson University hosts the fourth annual FIRST Championship Tournament.

More than 350 students and their coaches, comprising 34 teams, are expected to participate in the two-day event. There are teams from 11 local school districts and two private schools, as well as teams from western New York and Pennsylvania.first-walker

On Friday, December 3, high school students will participate in the FIRST Tech Challenge (FTC). This year’s game, "Roll Over It," requires students to design, build and program a robot that can navigate over uneven surfaces using a variety of sensors.

After five individual rounds, top-scoring teams will form two robot alliances. These alliances will use their combined their power, maneuverability and strategic programming to determine the ultimate winners.

The middle school students, ages nine to 14, will compete on Saturday, December 4, in the FIRST Lego League challenge. The theme this year, "Body Forward," features a biomedical engineering challenge.

There are two parts: a research project and robot game. Students are required to research a body part, function, or system and create an innovative solution to protect, repair or improve it. Students need to develop a creative presentation to share their solution. They must design, build, and program a robot with the mechanical capabilities to complete a variety of tasks.

The tournament is sponsored by the Northern New York Robotics Institute, a local higher education consortium directed by Clarkson Prof. James Carroll.

It is sponsored by the "Connect a Million Minds" initiative of Time Warner Cable, St. Lawrence-Lewis BOCES, and Clarkson University. Clarkson’s Office of Educational Partnerships provides coordination and logistical support for the tournament.

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, N.H., 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.

Clarkson University launches leaders into the global economy. One in six alumni already leads as a CEO, VP or equivalent senior executive of a company. Located just outside the Adirondack Park in Potsdam, N.Y., Clarkson is a nationally recognized research university for undergraduates with select graduate programs in signature areas of academic excellence directed toward the world’s pressing issues. Through 50 rigorous programs of study in engineering, business, arts, sciences and health sciences, the entire learning-living community spans boundaries across disciplines, nations and cultures to build powers of observation, challenge the status quo, and connect discovery and engineering innovation with enterprise.

Photo caption: Students compete in the December 2009 FIRST Championship Tournament at Clarkson University, which hosts the fourth annual tournament at Walker Center this December 3 and 4.

[News directors and editors: For more information, contact Annie Harrison, Director of Media Relations, at 315-268-6764 or]

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