Robotics competition opens at VCU

Thousands of high school students from 12 states and the District of Columbia are pitting metal against mettle at Virginia Commonwealth University in the NASA Langley/VCU School of Engineering FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) Robotics Competition. The three-day event kicked off March 7 at VCU’s Siegel Center with the opening of dozens of high-tech machine shops where students assemble and repair their radio-controlled robots and the start of hours of practice rounds on the 24’ x 48’ playing field where the robots will have two minutes to collect and score balls into goals.

Founded by inventor Dean Kamen, who recently introduced the SegwayTM Human Transporter (HT), FIRST was created to inspire an appreciation of science and technology in young people, their schools and their communities. Currently in its 11th year, the FIRST Robotics Competition anticipates its largest season ever with more than 600 teams from Brazil, the U.K., Canada and nearly every state in the U.S. competing in 17 different regional competitions.

More than 2,000 students are competing in the NASA Langley/VCU School of Engineering regional. They will compete for honors and recognition that reward design excellence, competitive play, sportsmanship and high-impact partnerships between schools, businesses and communities. The winners will advance to the Championship April 25-27 at Walt Disney World’s Epcot in Orlando, FL.

About VCU and VCU Medical Center

Virginia Commonwealth University is a major, urban public research university with national and international rankings in sponsored research. Located in downtown Richmond, VCU enrolls more than 31,000 students in 226 degree and certificate programs in the arts, sciences and humanities. Sixty-seven of the programs are unique in Virginia, many of them crossing the disciplines of VCU’s 13 schools and one college. MCV Hospitals and the health sciences schools of Virginia Commonwealth University comprise VCU Medical Center, one of the nation’s leading academic medical centers. For more, see