Forgive me, but I don't think FIRST is all that it is cracked-up to be. The projects are not so much 'robotics' as 'tele-robotics'. The technology aspect is good, but the competitions that I have seen focused on the joystick remote control performance portions. And for some teams, it seemed to be more the mentors' project than the students' project - some of the design and fabrication was definitely beyond the students' capability. A big aspect was fund-raising. But that does give the students exposure to the concepts of budgeting and cost-justification. And it is good to see some academic competition instead of just sports teams.
These FIRST shows are great, Naperlou. I saw a couple competitions in 2013 -- one at National Instruments Week and one at the Rockwell Automation Fair. Next time I'll pay more attention to the scoring board. I didn't realize it ran on top-notch automation technology.
It's great to see these students turn classroom academics into real-world robotic solutions on the FIRST competitive field. These High School robotics (engineering) classes form alliances during the competition in order to promote advancement through teamwork and attempt to win the competition overall. Regional competitions are held on various dates in Las Vegas, San Diego and St. Louis if you want to see these students and their creations in action. Alternatively, NASA graciously broadcasts each event 'live' so you can watch the games from the comfort of your desk, very inspiring. Go High Rollers - Team 987!
I agree. It's amazing to see how the competition field technologies have evolved over the years for FIRST. I'll be working with my high school students at Lawrence County Center of Technology on robotics competitions for SkillsUSA and BEST(Boosting Engineering, Science, and Technology). I'll be observing the competition field technologies used at these events.. Very interesting article and timely.
Rob, I saw my first FIRST robotics robots at the UBM Embedded Systems Conference in Chicago a few years back. It was interesting and fun to see the students show off their robots. That was not a competition, though.
This competition is a great use of the robots and the talents of the designers. Well done.
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