Automation NotebookBusiness NotesCompany TopicsIssue 9 – 2007Learning ResourcesNewsNotebook Issue

First Robotics Team Finishes Exciting Second Season

The Forsyth Alliance, a team of high school students sponsored by AutomationDirect that participates in the FIRST (For the Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) Robotics Competition, accumulated more experience and awards in their sophomore 2006-2007 season. Teams compete in alliances of three in a game that changes every year. Robots are built in 6 weeks from a common kit of parts provided by FIRST and can weigh up to 120 lbs (excluding battery).

Rack ‘n’ Roll Season


This season’s game, dubbed “Rack ‘n’ Roll”, focused on machine dexterity and accuracy. Students’ robots were designed to pick up and hang inflated colored tubes on pegs configured in rows and columns on a 10-foot high center “rack” structure. Extra points are scored by robots being in their home zone and lifted more than 4” or 12” off the floor by another robot before the end of the 2 minute and 15 second match.

The Forsyth Alliance’s robot, named “Otto”, participated in two Regionals this year; at the Peachtree Regional in Atlanta held March 15-17, the team’s alliances (which vary from match to match) won all of their 8 preliminary matches. This performance earned the Forsyth Alliance the number one seed for that Regional’s final matchups, but by then their opposing alliances’ strategies boiled down to “Block Otto!” Although not a winning finalist there, the team was awarded the Peachtree Regional’s Imagery Award for the second consecutive year.

Two weeks later, the Alliance put in another strong showing at the Palmetto Regional in Columbia, SC, placing 10th after all teams completed 10 matches. Again they competed in the final matches, but were beaten by the alliance that ultimately won that Regional. The team was awarded the General Motors Industrial Design Award for the Palmetto Regional, which “celebrates form and function in an efficiently designed machine that effectively achieves the game challenge”.

At the World Championships in April, the Forsyth Alliance performed well, winning three matches, losing two and ending two in a tie. They finished in the top half of their division, and were recognized by a competing team with a peer “Imagery” award.

More importantly, as viewed by the FIRST organization, the Forsyth Alliance continued to encourage younger students to become involved in the program to foster their enthusiasm for science and engineering careers. Among many community projects they spearheaded this season, the Alliance mentored or financially sponsored over 20 new FIRST Lego League teams in schools in Forsyth County, as well as hosted a local tournament for those teams to gain experience.

For more information, photos and video of the Forsyth Alliance, visit, or for information on the FIRST program, visit .

Originally Published: June 1, 2007