The 2010 FIRST Robotics Competition
Palmetto Regional was held at Clemson University, Clemson,
SC, on March 25, 26 and 27, 2010.
My 15-year-old grandson and I were able to attend the event on Saturday.
If you are not familiar with FIRST Robotics Competition, its
purpose is to "transform our culture by creating a world where science and
technology are celebrated and where young people dream of becoming science and
This year's competition was a battle of robotics playing soccer.
The court consisted of three zones each divided by 2-ft-tall barriers with a
single tunnel crossover. The ends were offensive zones for each alliance. The middle
zone was a ball feeding area. Three teams comprised each alliance and two
alliances battled in each event. Each alliance had three robots, one in each
zone. They could play in any or all zones if they were so designed to go over
the barriers or thru the tunnel. One score was awarded for getting the ball
into the "soccer net." Two points were awarded if during the last 20 seconds or
so of each event a robot could extend an arm, catch an overhead rod and elevate
off the floor.†
The robots were marvels of mechanical and electronic parts. Each
operated wirelessly and were controlled and monitored by computers.
There were more than 2,000 people at the event on Saturday.
Most were high school students rooting for their team, but there were also a
good number of us adults. The event could be described as a combination rock
concert and sporting event. There was adequately loud but enjoyable (if you
were young at heart) music blaring such hits as "YMCA," "It's twisting time
again" and other crowd-joining dance music. During the drive home my grandson
was already talking about next year, while I too have it on my radar for an enjoyable
2011 Saturday outing.
to read more about FIRST.
Mechanical Engineer Wade T. Harter is a Clemson University
graduate, Class of 1959.