Paragon Software Systems is sponsoring a team of teenage robotics engineers from Collingwood Technical College in Surrey for the FIRST Tech Challenge, an international competition open to senior school students.
The Grey Matter team members must design and build a fully functional robot using the Tetrix advanced building system and other mechanical and electronic components. The robot must perform in autonomous mode and under radio control to negotiate bridges, ramps and seesaws successfully, and collect objects on a 10 ft square playing field.
Team Grey Matter has a successful track record in various FIRST competitions and is looking forward to competing in the European leg of this year’s event.
FIRST successes for the Grey Matter team include winning the 2009 London regional heat and competing in the UK national final in 2010. Grey Matter won the third place trophy for teamwork in the 2010 international final; a notable achievement for what was a relatively inexperienced team. Grey Matter was also chosen to represent the UK as the FIRST LEGO League Core Values Ambassador team and attended the World Festival in Atlanta, USA, in April 2010. Here Grey Matter competed against 83 other international teams over 4 days.
FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) is a not for profit organisation that aims to inspire young people to become science and technology leaders. FIRST was founded by the American inventor and entrepreneur Dean Kamen, whose inventions include the Segway PT, the self-balancing two-wheeled human transporter, and the AutoSyringe mobile dialysis machine.
"We are proud to be supporting the Grey Matter team in the FIRST Tech Challenge. The teenagers have formed this team independently of any adult involvement and it is wonderful to see such initiative and drive. The robot they must build for this year’s event is sophisticated and will take many hours to complete. It will then have to perform a number of tasks that will challenge their ingenuity and engineering skills. The competition will stretch their inventiveness and their ability to work as a team. All at Paragon wish them well," said William Salter, Paragon’s Managing Director.
Grey Matter is busy raising funds and promoting the competition and science and technology to the youth of Britain. This activity is running in parallel with building the robot. "The team appreciates Paragon’s donation and is using it to buy components for the robot. We still need a lot more money, however, to complete our robotics project. Anyone interested in learning about our venture and how they could help Grey Matter can learn more from our website – www.greymatterrobotics.com," said Olly Smith, Grey Matter spokesperson.