Design Engineering

FIRST Robotics Challenge gets “crazy”

By Design Engineering staff   

General education Robotics

FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) has launched its eighteenth FIRST Robotics Competition season with a kick off of a new roboticsgame called “Lunacy” at Southern New HampshireUniversity in Manchester, NH, hometown and headquarters of FIRST.

The annual competition, which entices students into science, engineering,and technology, has attracted more than 42,000 high-school students on1,686 teams from the U.S., Brazil, Canada, Chile, Germany, Israel,Mexico, the Netherlands, the Philippines, Turkey, and the U.K. thisyear.


In this year’s challenge, entitled“Lunacy”, student-designed robots will have to pickup 9-inch game balls and score them in trailers hitched to theiropponents’ robots for points during a 2 minute and 15 secondmatch. Additional points will be awarded for scoring a special gameball, the Super Cell, in the opponents’ trailers during thelast 20 seconds of the match. “Lunacy” is played ona low-friction floor, which means teams must contend with the laws ofphysics.

At the event kickoff in early January, teamswere shown the game field and received a kit of parts made up ofmotors, batteries, a control system, and a mix of automationcomponents. Working with mentors, students will have six weeks todesign, build, program and test their robots to meet theseason’s engineering challenge.

Once the robots are finished, this year’s 1,686 teams – including 322rookie teams – will participate in forty regional competitions in theU.S., Canada, and Israel, plus seven district competitions and onestate championship in Michigan. These competitions will culminate inthe 2009 FIRST Championship at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta, April 16-18.

Thisseason, FIRST programs are operated by over 85,000 dedicated volunteersworldwide, many of them professional engineers and scientists whomentor the next generation of innovators.


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