An Engineer's Account of the 2010 FIRST Robotics Competition

DN Staff

April 1, 2010

2 Min Read
An Engineer's Account of the 2010 FIRST Robotics Competition

The 2010 FIRST Robotics CompetitionPalmetto 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, itspurpose is to "transform our culture by creating a world where science andtechnology are celebrated and where young people dream of becoming science andtechnology leaders."

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 asingle tunnel crossover. The ends were offensive zones for each alliance. The middlezone was a ball feeding area. Three teams comprised each alliance and twoalliances battled in each event. Each alliance had three robots, one in eachzone. They could play in any or all zones if they were so designed to go overthe barriers or thru the tunnel. One score was awarded for getting the ballinto the "soccer net." Two points were awarded if during the last 20 seconds orso of each event a robot could extend an arm, catch an overhead rod and elevateoff the floor.

The robots were marvels of mechanical and electronic parts. Eachoperated 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 agood number of us adults. The event could be described as a combination rockconcert and sporting event. There was adequately loud but enjoyable (if youwere young at heart) music blaring such hits as "YMCA," "It's twisting timeagain" and other crowd-joining dance music. During the drive home my grandsonwas already talking about next year, while I too have it on my radar for an enjoyable2011 Saturday outing.

Click hereand hereto read more about FIRST.

Mechanical Engineer Wade T. Harter is a Clemson Universitygraduate, Class of 1959.

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