Robots Lob Basketballs in FIRST Challenge
Thousands of teens hauled their robots to St. Louis for the international FIRST Championship at the end of April during a raucous event that saw robots playing basketball and pushing bowling balls.
The teams of high school students are given a standard set of parts they can use to design a robot to address specific challenges, and tasks, which change each year.
The event at the Edward Jones Dome in St. Louis drew 30,000 participants and family members (along with Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and rapper will.i.am). This year’s FIRST Robotics Competition challenge was called the “Rebound Rumble,” with basketball matches between two alliances of three teams each. The winning alliance of the Robotics Competition Championship included Team 180, S.P.A.M., Stuart, FL.; Team 16, Bomb Squad, Mountain Home, AR; Team 25, Raider Robotix, North Brunswick, NJ.
The FIRST Tech Challenge, “Bowled Over,” was described as: “Using a combination of motors, controllers, wireless communications, metal gears, and sensors, including infrared tracking (IR) and magnet seeking, students program their robots to operate in both autonomous and driver-controlled modes on a field that includes two home zones with a platform and a ramp, and two protected zones.”
The challenge: design a robot that could push a bowling ball uphill, as well as pick up racquetballs and place them in crates, then stack the crates to score points. The winning alliance in that challenge was Team 4444, Whitefield Academy, Louisville, KY; Team 4997, Masquerade, Tampa, FL; and Team 354, ILITE Robotics, Haymarket, VA.
Autodesk sponsored two Excellence in Design Awards (both 3D and 3D Animation), while Delphi sponsored the Excellence in Engineering Award, and PTC sponsored the Design Award.
FIRST also holds LEGO-based robotics challenges for younger children.
You can view a video of the event below, along with video of the Stuart, FL, team’s test run: