The RAGE Robotics team will be traveling to Montreal this week to participate in its first competition of the 2012 season.
The tournament will be the team’s first opportunity to travel outside the country, and is the first time a regional has ever been held in Montreal. Just four teams from the U.S. will be included in the roster of 37 teams competing, with the balance coming from Canadian cities.
The event is scheduled for Thursday, March 15 through Saturday, March 17 and is free for the general public.
RAGE - Robotics And Gadget Engineering - is made up of high school students from East Hartford, Manchester, Rockville, and Tolland, engineers and teachers from local companies and schools and parents.
The team is a member of the non-profit FIRST organization, which promotes science, technology, engineering, and math to students of all ages through various types of robotics programs. In the FIRST Robotics Competition, teams of high school students are given a new challenge each January and then have six weeks to design and build a robot to meet that challenge. The build period is followed by a six-week competition season where regional events are held around the U.S. and in Canada and Israel. The season culminates in St. Louis at the FIRST Championship.
Working side by side with engineering mentors, students get hands-on experience brainstorming, prototyping, making design tradeoffs, solving problems, building, and programming actual hardware. Other team members have the opportunity to create spirit and marketing campaigns, balance the funds coming in from sponsor companies with the expenses of producing a robot and traveling to competitions, and learn the game inside and out to most effectively drive the robot.
In this year’s game, called Rebound Rumble, robots shoot foam basketballs at full-size hoops mounted at either end of the field.
Four hoops may be found at each end, with baskets worth anywhere from one to four points. The game is played on a 54-by-27-foot field between two alliances, with each alliance made up of three teams. During the course of the event the alliance makeup is always changing, so a partner in one match may be an opponent in another match.
FIRST (for inspiration and recognition of science and technology) was founded in 1989 by inventor and entrepreneur Dean Kamen in an effort to inspire young people's interest and participation in science and technology. Programs exist for students of all ages from first grade through high school.
RAGE is also looking for a new location to call home. After spending 12 years in a space behind a storefront on Main St. in East Hartford, the team found itself homeless last June and is currently borrowing temporary space at East Hartford High School.
Any company that has unused space in East Hartford, Manchester, Vernon, or Tolland and would be willing to let the team meet, build, practice, and store equipment there, please contact team leader Chuck Nystrom at 860-712-8384 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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