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Posted: Thursday, March 22nd, 2012 5:25 AM HST

7 Big Island high schools to compete at robotics competition on Oahu this weekend

By 67AM KPUA News

Seven Big Island High Schools Compete In “Rebound Rumble," a Robotic March Madness, March 22-24, 2012.

More than 1,000 high-school students from around the world will have the opportunity to showcase their hard work after an intense six weeks of designing and building an original robot in the FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) in Hawaii Regional Robotics Competition.

This week, at the University of Hawaii at Manoa’s Stan Sheriff Center, 38 teams of students, along with their engineering and technical mentors, will demonstrate their skills in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM). They will compete for honors and recognition that reward design excellence, competitive play, sportsmanship, and high-impact partnerships between schools, businesses, and communities.

The 2012 “Rebound Rumble” robotics game is played between two Alliances of three teams each. Each Alliance competes by trying to score as many of the basketballs in the hoops as possible during the two minute and 15-second match. Balls scored in higher hoops score teams more points. Team Alliances are awarded bonus points if they are balanced on bridges at the end of the match.

Teams of dedicated students will compete at the FIRST in Hawaii Regional Robotics Competition to earn a spot at the World Championship to be held April 25-28 at the Edward Jones Dome in St. Louis, Mo.

The Hawaii robotics program, in its 5th anniversary year, was started in 2007 by former Governor Linda Lingle, as part of the Hawaii Innovation Initiative. Now operated by a group of volunteers, including an all volunteer board of directors, the Robotics Organizing Committee (ROC) and Friends of Hawaii Robotics work to promote robotics education in elementary, middle and high schools statewide. Recognizing the importance of promoting robotics at an early age and sustaining students’ interest in STEM education throughout their schooling, the ROC engages thousands of Hawaii students every year by making learning fun and exciting.

“I don’t think any great innovator or technologist got up in the morning trying to do something really big, really innovative, because they wanted a job,” said Dean Kamen, FIRST founder and president of DEKA Research & Development Corporation. “If we create a generation of passionate, smart, well-educated, informed kids willing to take educated risks as they try new things. If we create a passionate generation that understands the power of technology and how to apply it, trust me—they’ll have jobs. That’s a consequence of what they’ll have. If FIRST succeeds, we’ll have a rebirth of a society that believes in a future that can and has to be better than the past. We’re going to make sure we build a 21st century, a future that’s way more exciting than the 20th century.”

FIRST in Hawaii Regional Robotics Competition is supported by key community organizations including McDonald’s, BAE Systems, Booz Allen Hamilton, SAIC, and Oceanic Time Warner Cable.

Admission is free and open to the public. More information: www.hawaiiroc.org.

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