The Code Red Build Season Begins

Post date: Jan 10, 2014 6:15:17 PM

On Saturday January 4th, Ithaca High School's FIRST Robotics Team 639, Code Red Robotics, anxiously awaited the FIRST robotics competition game challenge announcement, an event known as Kickoff. FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) is an organization that was founded in 1992, dedicated to educating and inspiring the next generation about the advancement of technology. FIRST offers programs for children in elementary through high school including FRC (FIRST Robotics Competition) in which Code Red participates.

Every year, FIRST releases a game challenge that all FRC teams solve using a 120-pound robot. Starting at the time of the game announcement, teams have 6 weeks to design and manufacture their robots. During the six week "build season", the team is split up into various subgroups that focus on specific areas of the robot's manufacturing (ie. electronics, machining, programming). Everything on the robot is designed and produced by students, with the help of several professional mentors who are experts in their respective engineering fields.

After the “build season”, teams travel to one or more competitions that are held around the world. This year Code Red will be attending two competitions; the first of which is located at Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT) in Rochester NY. Code Red will also be attending the Buckeye Regional, located in Cleveland, Ohio, to defend the title they earned last year of “Buckeye Regional Champions”. At competitions, teams are randomly placed into groups of three called alliances that compete against other alliances for a chance to earn a spot in the World Championships.

This year’s game is called Aerial Assist. It consists of transporting two-foot diameter exercise balls across a 54-foot long field and depositing them into goals, either at ground level or eight feet above the ground. During advancement up the field, the alliance of three FRC teams may score additional points by passing the game pieces over a six foot high beam placed over the middle of the field to other members of their alliance, or by passing the ball to other alliance members. A strong emphasis on cooperation within alliances has been placed by FIRST this year, requiring teams to develop a strategy with two other FRC teams. Students will develop the skills needed to work with others in a professional environment.

Code Red is sponsored by donations from organizations as well as individuals. Generous sponsors include Kionix, Autodesk, BAE Systems, BorgWarner Morse TEC, CBORD, Cayuga Medical Center, Tompkins Trust Company, Tetra Tech, Vector Magnetics, AccuFab, Incodema, Cognitive TPG, Innovative Metal Works, U-Haul of Ithaca, Ithaca City School District, Ithaca High School, and Purity Ice Cream.

FIRST Code Red Robotics, an Ithaca High School student organization, is an associate of Ithaca STEM Advocates, an affiliate of the Ithaca Public Education Initiative (IPEI). IPEI is a not-for-profit organization that believes the education of every ICSD student is enhanced through community connections and support facilitated by IPEI for students and teachers through engagement, collaboration, gifts, and grants. More information about Ithaca STEM Advocates and IPEI as well as methods for donations can be found at and

For further information about FIRST, JR.FIRST Lego League, and Code Red Robotics, please email, or go to or

Media Contact:

Cameron Burbank

FIRST Code Red Robotics

Interim Public Relations Officer