Finger Lakes Regional FIRST Robotics Season Kicks Off Jan. 7

New game to be previewed and demonstrated at annual competition opening event

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A. Sue Weisler

The Kick–Off event for the 2011–2012 FIRST Robotics Finger Lakes Regional competition takes place Jan. 7 at Kodak Theater on the Ridge.

This year’s FIRST Robotics competition will have an Xbox 360 angle.

Microsoft Corp. donated Kinect for Xbox 360 sensors for the standard robotics kits that all teams will use to build this year’s competition robots.

Local teams will receive the kits for the new competitive game at the 2011–2012 FIRST Robotics Kick Off event at 10:30 a.m. Jan. 7 in the Kodak Theater on the Ridge.

More than 700 students, faculty and mentors from 34 regional teams are expected at the local event to view a live, nationwide telecast hosted by FIRST founder Dean Kamen. He will describe the new game and its unique design challenges. Teams will have six weeks to build robots for the regional competition on March 9–10 at Gordon Field House at Rochester Institute of Technology.

“The Finger Lakes Regional attracts some of the best teams in the Northeast and Canada, “ says Glen Pearson, regional director. “We are anticipating an intense, high-energy event.”

This year, four new teams from the Rochester and surrounding area will compete, including Honeoye Falls-Lima, Albion, Massena and Oneonta high schools.

FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) began in 1989 to spark interest in science through solving engineering problems in a friendly, intense competition. Winners from regional competitions across the country will participate in the national event April 27–30 in St. Louis.

Last year, the Finger Lakes Region was represented by Churchville-Chili High School, the 2011 Finger Lakes Regional Chairman’s Award winner. (Chairman’s Awards are given to one team from each regional that best exemplifies the FIRST spirit of cooperation and gracious professionalism. It is the organization’s most prestigious award.) Other representatives were Orchard Park Secondary School, Stoney Creek, Ontario; Utica Community School, Sterling Heights, Mich.; Palmyra-Macedon High School, Palmyra, N.Y.; and Notre Dame High School, Elmira, N. Y., the Rookie All-Star Award team for 2011.

“We hope to see plenty of fans to cheer their teams and the students as they attempt to qualify for the World Championship,” Pearson adds.

More information about the Finger Lakes Region FIRST Competition can be found at

WHAT: 2011–2012 Finger Lakes Regional FIRST Robotics Kick Off
WHERE: Kodak Theater on the Ridge, 200 Ridge Road West
WHEN: 9–9:45 a.m. Jan. 7: Team registration and refreshments
10–10:30 a.m.: Regional news and welcome

10:30–11:30 a.m.: National broadcast with FIRST Founder Dean Kamen

11:30 a.m.–12:30 p.m.: Demonstration on model playing field of new game