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article imageStudents Come Alive When Inventing A Number Five

By Michelle Duffy     Mar 16, 2007 in Lifestyle
It may not be like the film, 'Close Circuit,' yet this weekend will set the wheels in motion even so, when a student robotic competition featuring competitors from around the world takes centre stage.
The Javits Centre this weekend, will see the most extraordinary futuristic sight - students let loose with their own robotic inventions.
They say that the world's most imaginative and creative minds are the ones of those of the younger generation, and according to the organisers, this weekend's competition will be the place to find the worlds most inventive and down right wackiest robots.
The annual event is sponsored byt the non profit organisation called FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology), which, funnily enough, was created by Dean Kamen, creator of the Segway.
The teams of kids are given the task of building a robot - fully working in just six weeks. It, in turn has to be able to complete certain tasks. This year, the metal contestants will have to use a space of just a 35 by 70 foot area to complete the robotic tasks. The tasks include picking up inflated swimming pool toys and putting them on shelves, which sounds pretty straight forward, but the robots need to be sleek in their movements and quick to respond.
This is all well and good but what we really need is a robot that can put the rubbish out!
Gordon Williams, a robotics teacher who is mentor to a team this year, says, "They (students) like the fact that they have to come up with an idea, then build it, and that it works," he says.
As with all competitions, it is all about the taking part rather than the actual winning, but try telling that to a bunch of students who are in the most competitive phase of their growth. The most important thing to do is get their juices working and inspire them to go on to create something rather than just wait to be involved in a competition such as this one.
All in all, it will be a weekend to remember - but I'll bet you a robot who can wash the car and take the dog for a walk will not be present.
The competition is open to the public and free. Preliminary rounds are on Saturday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., with the finals on Sunday from 1 to 4 p.m.
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