By: Christi Fish
PUBLIC AFFAIRS SPECIALIST
Third through eighth graders from the greater San Antonio region and as far away as Odessa flocked to The University of Texas at San Antonio (UTSA) Main Campus on Saturday, February 12 to get their first glimpse of the 2011 Getting Excited About Robotics (G.E.A.R.) competition game. Jointly presented by the Interactive Technology Experience Center (iTEC) in the UTSA College of Engineering and the AT&T Foundation, G.E.A.R. is the largest regional U.S.-only robotics competition in the United States for elementary and middle school students.
For the next six weeks, G.E.A.R. competitors will prepare for TransFarmers: Rise of the FarmBots. Using Lego® Mindstorms NXT robotics kits, teams will build and program a robot that can complete simple tasks on Cyber Acres Farm. Teams will earn points for:
- successfully harvesting “corn” and “carrots” (small square and round wooden pieces topped with hooks)
- delivering “corn,” “carrots” and “cotton bales” (“cotton-filled bags”) to the market (a Stanley three-inch bin)
- removing “manure” (2.5 inch carpet base cups) from a barn
- delivering “fresh hay bales” (three-inch paint rollers) to the barn
- delivering “corn” and “manure” to the alternative fuels plant (a Stanley two-inch bin) and<
- planting seeds (half-inch hex nuts) to create new crops.
Last year, more than 1,500 people attended G.E.A.R., including nearly 600 competitors on 125 teams. See competition photos.
G.E.A.R. is an annual robotics competition that motivates kids to pursue careers in engineering by demonstrating advanced technologies and engaging them in interactive, hands-on activities that build technical skills and foster critical thinking, self-confidence, communication and leadership. It is organized by iTEC, which was established in 2007 by a four-year, $1.5 million grant from the AT&T Foundation, the philanthropic arm of AT&T. ITEC’s mission is to inspire youth by creating an environment where they can understand how engineering, science and technology shape our lives and the future of our world. Its focus areas include robotics, telecommunications, scanning electron microscope applications and design for manufacturing.
AT&T Foundation supports programs that build communities and improve access to information technologies, technology training and professional skills development. AT&T Inc. is one of the world’s largest telecommunications holding companies and is the largest in the United States.
For more information about the 2011 G.E.A.R. competition, visit http://itec.utsa.edu.