Over the weekend the 18th annual FIRST Robotics Competition (FRC) was officially launched. This competition challenges and inspires high school student teams to build robots that compete in a match whose rules change each year. Each registered team is given a common kit of parts provided by FIRST and then has 6 weeks to build a robot for the competition. In this year’s competition, nearly 1,700 high school teams are registered, comprising more than 40,000 students.
This year’s competition, dubbed Lunacy, has a moon theme. Robots will compete on a 27′ by 45′ field, called the crater, with a floor surface and wheels that simulate the low friction conditions experienced on the Moon’s 1/6 gravity (relative to Earth) surface. Each robot is fitted with a trailer and the objective is to put as many moon rocks (balls) into the opposing team’s trailer as possible.
The FRC, as well as other competitions sponsored by FIRST, is an amazing event that provides young minds with the confidence, experience, and the joy of participating in engineering and scientific endeavor. FIRST was founded by Dean Kamen who, among other things, is designing the prosethetic arm we reported on earlier. If you have some spare time, they can never get enough adult mentors.
Below is a video of the inspiring intro movie from the kickoff presentation, followed by an animated video of the Lunacy competition: