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2014 FIRST Robotics season begins on January 4th

The two-week epidemic of quiet raging across many Colorado schools is about to end this Saturday. Believe it or not, it’s time for another season of FIRST Robotics!

Your Denver Space Industry Examiner started covering the FIRST Robotics seasons back in 2009 as a way to highlight the importance of educating the next generation space industry engineers and scientists. The theme of the 2009 season required student teams to build a robot capable of gathering simulated moon rocks and placing them inside trailers pulled by simulated moon rovers. Since then we have seen a soccer theme in 2010, tubes and mini-robots in 2011, basketball/balancing in 2012, and frisbees/climbing in 2013. Maybe FIRST will return to another space-related theme in 2014?

Until the game is announced at the kickoff event, anything is possible. The world-wide telecast signaling the start of this year’s build season begins at 8:30am on Saturday morning. Many local teams will gather at the Denver Museum of Nature and Science to watch the telecast on NASA-TV, but you can watch at home too. Other teams will watch the telecast from their high schools and get right to work. If none of those options are convenient, NASA also provides a live internet feed.

Peace and quiet will return to Colorado schools when the robot build season ends on February 18th, for a few weeks at least. Then the action moves to Magness Arena on the DU campus. On April 3rd through 5th, 53 teams from two countries and ten states will battle for the right to be called Denver Regional Champions. Check for more details on the Colorado FIRST website.

Each season contains its share of changes. One rule change this year allows teams to demonstrate their robots to the public during the wait interval between February 18th and April 3rd. If you find a local school on the list of participants on the FIRST or Colorado FIRST websites above, check with them to see if they will be offering a local robot demo. The rules are very strict about what can and can’t be done during pre-competition demos, but you and your children will still be able to see, touch, and perhaps even drive the robots.

The Examiner wishes luck, success, and valuable lessons learned to all teams competing in/from Colorado!

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