Future engineers and computer scientists will demonstrate their robotics skills during the NASA-sponsored ninth annual northern California Botball Robotics Tournament.

The competition will be held at the Leavey Center at Santa Clara University, Santa Clara, Calif., on Saturday, April 22, 2006 starting at 10:00 a.m. PDT. This year, 32 teams from 23 northern California middle and high school schools will be participating in the fast-paced tournament.

“As NASA moves forward with exploration of the solar system, the hands-on experience gained by building and testing autonomous robots, as is required for the Botball competitions, is key to learning the technology and inspiring the creative thinking needed in NASA’s future scientists and engineers,” said Terry Grant, NASA Ames associate with NASA’s Robotics Alliance Project, and coordinator of the Northern California Botball Competition.

Who: 32 northern California middle and high school robotics teams

What: Ninth annual northern California Botball Robotics Tournament

When: Saturday April 22, 2006 starting at 10:00 a.m. PDT

Where: The Leavey Center at Santa Clara University 500 El Camino Real, Santa Clara, Calif.

Each year, students teams are given six-weeks to design, build and program their robots from identical kits. The students use the C programming language to program the robot’s small onboard microcontroller. There are no remote controls and game play is based solely on the skill of the team programmers.

Botball is a robotics program designed to engage students in learning science, technology, engineering and math. By building robots, students are exposed to high tech equipment, gain knowledge of computer programming and develop team problem-solving skills. Students can also compete in the creation of a Web site to document their team progress.

The tournament is presented by the KISS Institute for Practical Robotics, Norman Okla., in conjunction with NASA Ames and Santa Clara University. The Robotics Alliance Project is directed by Dave Lavery, program executive for Solar System Exploration and is supported through NASA’s Science Mission Directorate, Washington, D.C.

For information about participating team, visit:


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For more information about the KISS Institute, visit: