Students tackle football-playing robots

In the world of the future, robots play football. That day will be one field goal closer this Saturday.

The Orange Coast College Engineering Club, along with robotic mascot Pete the Pirate, will host the Jet Propulsion Laboratory Invention Challenge in which 30 high school and junior high school teams from Southern California will enter their robotic creations at 9 a.m. in front of the college's library.

The robots must be less than 2 meters tall and able to kick a regulation football over a two-meter obstacle into a trash can, according to the rules posted on JPL's website.

"They come up with some pretty good inventions," Robert Castaño, professor of electronics technology, said of youth robotic competitions. "Their skill level is low, but their creativity and imagination is high."

Finalists from Saturday's competition will go on to compete against other finalists from a second Invention Challenge event, which also takes place Saturday, but in Los Angeles, and pits 30 teams from Los Angeles County and northern cities against one another.

The finalists' robots from both groups will go head-to-head in a kicking competition Dec. 9 atJPL in Pasadena.

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-- Sarah Peters, Times Community News


Final contest is Friday, December 9, 2011 between 11:30 AM and 1:00 PM. The contest is held at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, 4800 Oak Grove Drive, Pasadena, CA 91109. The contest area is located north of the fountain area, in front of the Administration Building (Bldg. 180) steps. The contest will be held rain or shine, but will be covered from the rain. Check-in for the event will begin at 10:15 AM.

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