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Clarkson University Hosts FIRST Robotics Championship Tournament Dec. 2 & 3

[A photograph for media use is available at .]

Robots and their handlers will invade Walker Center when Clarkson University hosts the fifth annual FIRST Championship Tournament on December 2 and 3.

Students from Ogdensburg Free Academy make adjustments to their robot during last year’s FIRST Championship Tournament.More than 400 students and their coaches, comprising 42 teams, are expected to participate in the two-day event. There are 24 teams from 11 local school districts and two private schools, as well as teams from western New York, New Jersey, Connecticut   and Pennsylvania.

On Friday, December 2, high school students will participate in the FIRST Tech Challenge (FTC). This year’s game, “Bowled Over,” requires students to design, build and program a robot that can place racquet balls into crates and then stack the crates.
After several individual rounds, top-scoring teams will form four alliances of three teams each. These alliances will use their combined robotic power, maneuverability and strategic programming to determine the semi-final challenge alliances. These challengers will compete for the ultimate competition honors.

The middle school students, ages nine to 14, will compete on Saturday, December 3, in the FIRST Lego League (FLL) challenge. The theme this year, “Food Factor,” features food safety and examines the possible points of contamination our food encounters -- from exposure to insects and creatures, to unsterile processing and transportation, to unsanitary preparation and storage -- then finds ways to prevent or combat these.
The FLL competition has two parts: a research project and robot game. Students are required to solve a set of food safety missions, as well as research, develop, and share their innovative food safety solutions. Students need to develop a creative presentation to share their solutions. 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 Electrical & Computer Engineering Professor James Carroll.

It is also sponsored by the “Connect a Million Minds” initiative of Time Warner Cable, General Electric Corporation, St. Lawrence-Lewis BOCES, and Clarkson University. Coordination and logistical support for the tournament is provided by Clarkson’s Office of Educational Partnerships.

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 five 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 from Ogdensburg Free Academy make adjustments to their robot during last year’s FIRST Championship Tournament. This year’s tournament, scheduled for December 2 and 3 at Clarkson University’s Walker Arena, will draw 42 teams from four states.

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

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