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"Pass the Torch" at The Tech Museum's Tech Challenge 2002

Press Release Date 
Friday, April 5, 2002
SAN JOSE, SILICON VALLEY, Calif., April 5, 2002 – Imagine the Olympics – "Silicon Valley style," where instead of having a person light the Olympic caldron, a robot carries the flame. That is just what kids are challenged to do this year at The Tech Museum of Innovation's 15th annual Tech Challenge. Over 400 students from San Jose, Palo Alto, Santa Cruz, Sacramento and Los Angeles will stretch their minds to try and build a device to pick up and set down a make believe torch. Tech Challenge 2002 will take place April 10 at the San Jose Civic Auditorium, 145 West San Carlos St., from 2 to 7 p.m. The majority of student teams will be testing their devices between 4 and 6 p.m. and the Awards Ceremony will begin at 7 p.m. The Tech Challenge is a robotic design competition that engages young minds in the subjects of real world problem solving, critical thinking, teamwork, and perseverance. This year, the challenge is to design, build and operate a device that will pick up, move and set down a make-believe torch. The teams have just 3 minutes to set up their robots, which will grab the torch and move it 11 feet. Not only will teams have to successfully operate their devices, but they must also endure a question and answer session with a panel of judges. The competition is open to grades 5-12. Teams consist of 2 to 6 members who can be from different grade levels or schools. These students work diligently for four months prior to the event designing their inventions. It is a unique opportunity for teams to apply their knowledge and gain practical experience of designing to solve a science and technology problem. Prizes are awarded to top designs in each grade category. Special awards will be given in other categories as well, including Most Spectacular Failure, Best Looking Device, and Best Team Spirit. Tech Challenge is made possible by major funding from the Intel Endowment. Other sponsors include Lockheed Martin, Seagate, Philips, Adaptec, KPIX, and the San Jose Rotary Club. The Tech Museum of Innovation is a non-profit educational institution that engages people of all ages and backgrounds in exploring and experiencing the technologies affecting their lives and aims to inspire the innovator in everyone. It is located at 201 S. Market St. San Jose, CA 95113-2008. For general information, call (408) 294-TECH or visit