AutomationDirect Sponsors Local FIRST Robotics Team

  • November 03, 2005
  • AutomationDirect
  • AutomationDirect
  • News
Cumming, GA --- There’s a new team in Forsyth County, Georgia and they are ready to rumble! A group of high school students from across the county have formed the Forsyth Alliance to compete in the 14th Annual FIRST Robotics Competition. The host organization, For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology (FIRST), was founded in 1989 by Dean Kamen, inventor of the Segway, to inspire an appreciation of science and technology in young people. For the Robotics Competition, registered high school teams are given a 300 pound box of parts (sprockets, metals, motors, wires, processors etc.) and a specific task to complete. They then have 42 days to design, build, test and ship a 130-lb. man-sized robot to accomplish this task. If successful at their regional competition, they will be invited to attend the World Finals in Atlanta in April 2006. Over 23,000 students on 1000 teams from around the world participated in FIRST last year.AutomationDirect has stepped up to make the Forsyth Alliance team’s entry into this season’s FIRST competition possible, with financial support, donations of materials, resources and services. “This is such a perfect fit for us – how often does a company get to sponsor and support an activity that is directly related to its own day to day business operations?,” says Tina Crowe at AutomationDirect. “It means a lot to us knowing that we are doing something that will have such a tremendous impact on the lives of these kids. As you dig deeper into the FIRST Robotic Competition, you find out that it’s not just about building robots, it’s about cooperation, professionalism, building functioning teams, learning multiple engineering disciplines, engineering methodologies, industry relations, and community involvement – all things that are perfectly aligned with AutomationDirect’s corporate philosophy.”The students are already hard at work learning the skills they will need to compete. One week they learned how to program microcontrollers and built a virtual banner to practice their automation talents. Another week they learned how to program servo drives and then used their knowledge to build mini-robots that could traverse an obstacle course autonomously. Upcoming topics include motor controllers, pneumatics, remote wireless operator interfaces, mechanicals, transmissions, and welding.“This will be an intense learning experience for these kids,” says Rick Folea, one of the team mentors. “This competition is partly about building robots, but more importantly it is about building a team than can accomplish a large task using engineering design tools and processes. This competition is intentionally designed to force the kids to work in a real engineering environment where there is NEVER enough time, materials, resources, or money to do it ‘right.’ To be successful they will have to keep it simple and focused and they will have to apply every bit of math, science and physics they ever learned!”Ben Blount, a senior at South Forsyth High, sums it up: “When I found out about this opportunity, I knew I had to be a part of it. It isn’t often that a competition encompasses so many areas and teaches us valuable skills that are so applicable in today’s workplace, while allowing us to have the time of our lives in competition.” For more information, check out the Robotics club Web site at: AutomationDirect sells over 5,500 feature-packed products through its online store and 1,750-page catalog. The company offers its customers high-quality automation products at prices well below the industry average, same-day shipping on in-stock items, outstanding sales and technical support, and a 30-day money-back guarantee on nearly every product. For more information on this product, Submit Info Request Form or visit their website at

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