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Students to Participate in G.E.A.R Competition

San Antonio’s students from the third to the eighth grade had assembled in the UTSA Main Campus on February 12, to take a first look at the 2011 Getting Excited About Robotics (G.E.A.R) competition game.

This game was being jointly presented by AT&T Foundation and the Interactive Technology Experience Center (iTEC) located in the UTSA College of Engineering. G.E.A.R is the biggest robotics competition for elementary and middle school students of the US. During the next six weeks, the competitors would build and program a robot utilizing LEGO Mind Storms NXT Robotic Kits. The title of the competition is TransFarmers: Rise of the FarmBots. The robots would be programmed to complete simple tasks on the Cyber Acres Farm.

The Robots would have to successfully harvest carrots and corn represented by a small square and round wooden pieces with hooks on top; Deliver cotton bales (cotton-filled bags), corn and carrots to the market, which was a Stanley 3’ bin; deliver manure and corn to the alternative fuels facility (a Stanley 2’ bin); remove manure (represented by 2.5’ carpet base cups) from a barn; deliver fresh hay bales represented by 3’ paint rollers to the barn and plant seeds, which were ½’ hex nuts for creating new crops, for which the teams gained points.

In 2010, over 1500 people out of whom 600 on 125 teams were competitors attended the GEAR Meet. GEAR is a robotics competition taking place every year to motivate and stimulate kids to follow careers in engineering by a demonstration of advanced technologies and giving them hands-on experience in such activities, which would help them gain self-confidence, critical thinking and technical skills, leadership and communication. This competition was spearheaded by iTEC, which was set up in 2007 by AT&T Foundation with a four year $1.5 million grant.

iTEC’s aim is to motivate young people by the creation of an environment where they could get insights into science and technology and engineering and how they shape the future and our lives. It concentrates on telecommunications, robotics, design for manufacturing and scanning electron microscope applications. The AT&T Foundation sponsors programs that facilitate building of communities and helps them to get improved access to IT, Professional skills development and technical training.

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