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University of Iowa News Release


Feb. 18, 2011

UI hosts Iowa FIRST Tech Challenge-Iowa Championship at IMU Feb. 26

For the second consecutive year, the University of Iowa College of Engineering will host the Iowa Championship Event of the FIRST Tech Challenge (FTC) Program -- a robotics competition involving high school teams. The FTC-Iowa Championship Event will be held from 10 a.m. to 6:15 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 26, at the Iowa Memorial Union on the UI Campus.

The event is free and open to the public.

The program -- run by affiliate partner UI, in cooperation with official national sponsor Rockwell Collins, Inc. of Cedar Rapids -- involves 48 teams split into two divisions. The state of Iowa will have 45 teams competing, while one team each will come from Wisconsin, Michigan and Illinois. Individual teams are composed of five to 10 high school students.

In addition to the teams, the competition will include a crew of more than 100 volunteers ranging in age from 15 to 74. Volunteers include high school students, college students, graduate students, professionals and retirees.

The FIRST Tech Challenge Program requires teams to construct robots that move over a 12-foot-square field in a game called "Get Over It!" where robots retrieve and deposit 6-inch batons in various receptacles.

Teams will compete to score the most points, with the highest-scoring teams advancing in the competition. Teams will also compete for eight special awards, including the Inspire Award and the Rockwell Collins Innovate Award. The most prestigious award, the Inspire Award is given to the team that truly embodies the FTC Challenge. The Rockwell Collins Innovate Award is presented to the team that thinks "outside-the-box" and also uses ingenuity and inventiveness to make their designs come to life.

In addition to the Iowa Championship, other FTC Regional Competitions were scheduled between November 2010 and March 2011. Teams advancing from regionals will be invited to compete at the FTC World Festival April 27-30 in St. Louis.

The College of Engineering was selected by US FIRST to coordinate FIRST Tech Challenge activities for the State of Iowa. FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) is a nonprofit organization founded in 1989 by Segway inventor Dean Kamen to encourage student team building skills, entrepreneurship and "gracious professionalism."

Also attending the event will be Woodie Flowers, Pappalardo Professor Emeritus of Mechanical Engineering at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and a Distinguished Partner at Olin College, Needham, Mass. He annually participates in the design of the FIRST Robotics Competition game and has served as a national advisor to FIRST since the inception of the competition.

Additional information is available at or by contacting coordinator Rebecca Whitaker at 319-335-5706 or

STORY SOURCE: University of Iowa News Services, 300 Plaza Centre One,
Suite 371, Iowa City, Iowa 52242-2500

MEDIA CONTACTS: Rebecca Whitaker, coordinator, 319-335-5706,; Gary Galluzzo, University News Services, 319-384-0009,