On Saturday 17th November 2007 in the Galway Education Centre, St. Geralds College Castlebar won the inaugural Irish final of the FIRST Power Puzzle Challenge competing against nine other schools from all over the country.
FIRST is an American foundation (For Inspiration & Recognition in Science & Technology) that has been running this global competition for the last 10 years. Last year 200,000 competitors took part worldwide.
This year’s theme; Power Puzzle, asked teams to explore how energy production and consumption choices affect the planet and our quality of life today, tomorrow, and for future generations.
The competition has 2 main parts:
1. Each team must carry out a research project based on an energy audit of a public building. The teams must then suggest methods of energy conservation for the building having consulted various experts in the field and finally, they must communicate their findings to the community.
2. They must also construct and programme a robot capable of carrying out 13 specific missions in a 2 ½ minute game. This is done using the LEGO NXT robotics equipment and programmed using Robolab software.
St. Geralds now represent Ireland against the winners of Northern Ireland, England, Scotland & Wales in the University of Birmingham on Saturday 2nd Feb 2008.
The winners from that competition will go on to the FIRST Power Puzzle World Festival in conjunction with the FIRST Championship in Atlanta, Georgia at the Georgia Dome and Georgia World Congress Center, April 17 - 19, 2008.
In Atlanta FIRST will host up to 84 teams from 27 countries and global regions. Teams will participate in a 2½-day tournament celebration of their robotic and challenge project accomplishments.
St. Geralds were presented with a cheque for €3000 by SAP Galway who sponsored the competition financially and provided valuable technical assistance.
The St. Gerald’s College team consisted of 3 parts:
Research Project Team: Charlie Smith, Darren Mc Tigue & Daniel Mannion
Robot Engineering Team: Michael Clune, Jamie Chambers & James Mc Hale
Logistics Team: Shane Kavanagh & Ciaran Mulgrew
Coach: Mr. Declan Askin