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January 9, 2013

Robotics team to kick-off season

The Otsego County 4-H robotics team kicked off its 2013 season Saturday with an event at the Masonic Temple in Oneonta. 

The team joined thousands of high school students in 81 cities around the world participating in a webcast hosted by inventor Dean Kamen for the FIRST Robotics Competition season. FIRST stands for For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology. The competition kickoff marked the beginning of the season for high school students from across the nation and around the world to design and build robots to compete in an annual tournament against a field of competitors. 

According to a media release, FIRST is an international, mentor-based student program that builds science, technology, engineering and math, or STEM, skills for high school students by combining sports, science and technology. Each year a different game is featured, usually involving a sport court where robots compete against each other to meet an objective, such as putting balls into a basketball hoop. 

During the broadcast, Kamen and the First Robotics Competition designers revealed the game and announced the rules of the 2013 ULTIMATE ASCENT competition, which will be played between two groups of three teams each. Each Alliance will compete by trying to score flying discs into goals during the two-minute, 15-second match. Discs scored in higher goals score more points. Matches will end with robots attempting to climb up pyramids located near the middle of the field.

At Saturday’s event, FRC teams were shown the playing field and received kits of motors, batteries, a control system, a PC and a mix of automation components. 

The local robotics team, nicknamed “RoboKronos —The Titans of Technology,” was formed last year under the guidance of Cornell Cooperative Extension 4-H of Otsego County. The team will spend the next six weeks building, designing and programming robots to participate in the Finger Lakes Regional Robotics Competition on Feb. 28 and March 1-2 at the Rochester Institute of Technology in Rochester. Last year, the local team won the Rookie All-Star Award at the Finger Lakes Regional, enabling the team to go to the World Competition in St. Louis, Mo. 

For more information on the team, visit 

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