Area students have first glimpse of robotics competition at UTSA Main Campus

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(Feb. 17, 2011)--Third through eighth graders from the San Antonio area and as far away as Odessa flocked to the UTSA Main Campus on Feb. 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 the 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 in which they can understand how engineering, science and technology shape lives and the future of the world. Its focus areas include robotics, telecommunications, scanning electron microscope applications and design for manufacturing.

The 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.

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About AT&T

AT&T Inc. is a premier communications holding company. Its subsidiaries and affiliates are the providers of AT&T services in the United States and around the world. With a powerful array of network resources that includes the nation's fastest 3G network, AT&T is a leading provider of wireless, Wi-Fi, high speed Internet and voice services. AT&T offers wireless coverage worldwide and the most wireless phones that work in the most countries. In 2009, AT&T again ranked No. 1 in the telecommunications industry on FORTUNE magazine's list of the World's Most Admired Companies.