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Some of the most intelligent young minds from around the world showed off their mechanical, technical and entrepreneurial skills during the first day of robotics competition on Friday. Once again, the robotics teams made their way to Rocket City for the FIRST Robotics Competition "Rocket City Regional."

This is an exciting day for the Bob Jones-James Clemens Robotics Team.

"You're in a time crunch but you don't realize it," member Bryce Brown said. "You just have a lot of fun while you're building it."

Brown's team and the 50 other robotics teams worked nearly every day for six weeks in preparation of the competition.

"It's taken a lot of work and a lot of time, but I will tell you, they are not short on innovation, on motivation and on energy," NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center Deputy Director Jody Singer said. "They are ready to go."

The NASA-sponsored event pits teams of high school students together to build a robot which will compete in a game.

It was a robot invasion at the Von Braun Center last weekend.

High schoolers from across the United States – and as far away as Canada and the Dominican Republic – traveled to Huntsville to participate in the FIRST Robotics Competition Rocket City Regional. Fifty teams competed for a spot at the world championships to be held in St. Louis and Houston.

The competition was sponsored by FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology), a nonprofit organization that promotes developing the next generation’s passion in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) fields.

“The idea behind it is to not look at it as a club, but as a sport,” volunteer Tyler Brunson, a former competitor, said.

This year’s theme is FIRST STEAMWORKS which incorporates a steampunk aesthetic into the competition. Each team of 10 is challenged to design not just a robot, but a whole brand for their team, spending no more than $4,000 … and doing it in six weeks. In the competition, the robot is challenged to work both autonomously and with operators. The top eight teams advanced to the final competition held Saturday.

ptc-first-team-grant-applicationThe application for the 2016-2017 PTC FIRST Team Grants has opened. Please read the information below to learn how you can apply for either a FIRST Tech Challenge (FTC) or a FIRST Robotics Competition (FRC) grant.

Deadlines
  1. Friday, September 23, 2016: Grant application deadline
  2. Friday, October 21, 2016: Notification of PTC grant awards

FIRST Tech Challenge (FTC) Grant Policy
For the 2016-2017 FTC season, PTC will provide $1000 grants to FTC teams. These grants will be distributed directly from FIRST to the team, and can be used for travel expenses, general robot expenses, computer needs, etc. In order to receive the funding for this grant, you must first register your FTC team and pay the registration fee. The team is responsible for submitting the necessary documentation to FIRST (completed w9 form with tax ID & the re-granting documents). For organizations/affiliations with multiple FTC teams, up to two teams per organization/affiliation are eligible for a PTC team grant. Each team will need to apply separately for a team grant.

FIRST Robotics Competition (FRC) Grant Policy
For the 2016-2017 FRC season, PTC will provide $2000 grants to FRC teams. These grants will be distributed directly from FIRST to the team, and will ideally be used for registration fees. However, the funds can be re-granted by FIRST for travel expenses, general robot expenses, equipment needs, etc.

If the team chooses to have the funds re-granted by FIRST, the funds become available after January 1, 2017. The team is responsible for submitting any necessary documentation to FIRST (completed w9 form with a tax ID & the re-granting documents). For organizations/affiliations with multiple FRC teams, only one team per organization/affiliation is eligible for a PTC team grant.

Grant Guidelines
Each PTC team grant application is evaluated on the basis of proposed software use by each team, whether the team is mentored by PTC employees, co-sponsored by PTC customers, and the level of community involvement by each team.

By submitting an application, your team understands there is no guarantee of a grant award by PTC now or in the future. Teams that PTC sponsored in the past must reapply each year, meet the requirements outlined in the grant application, and be evaluated based on the criterion described above.

Apply for a PTC FIRST Team Grant!
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