Robots pelting one another with Moon Rocks
It just doesn’t get better than that!
Team 360, sponsored by Boeing, Fikret Yuksel Foundation, Robin Hobb, Trillian Dental, and Parents of Bellarmine Robotic and Bellarmine Prep will be rocking the Key Arena in Seattle this weekend in the Microsoft Seattle Regional F.I.R.S.T. Robotics Competition. Of course, there will be 63 other high school teams there, but this is the one I’ll be watching.
FIRST, for those unfamiliar with the organization, stands for For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology. It was founded by Dean Kamen, inventor of the Segway. Its mission is to inspire young people to enter the fields of science and technology by creating exciting programs that create fun and innovation as students learn science, engineering and technology skills
Competitive robots are only part of it, of course, but they create wonderful spectacle each year as teams are given a kit of basic parts and a challenge that they must meet. This year’s challenge includes robots that may weigh up to 120 pounds each and must maneuver on a surface that mimics some of the low gravity conditions of the moon, while attempting to launch ‘moon rocks’ into the rival robot’s trailer. Some rocks may be thrown by human members of the team, but seven of the rocks are dealt to the robot.
http://ahsrobotics.us/first/lunacy.html gives a much better explanation and illustration than is possible here.
On of the most unique attributes of the FIRST competitions is that teams are encouraged to form alliances and work together, both on and off the field. Not only does this make the contest more interesting, it gives tech minded kids the opportunity to interact with others in an arena that recognizes that engineering and technology can be fun.
The FIRST program has many levels, including FIRST Lego League, a program that is appropriate for children as young as 9, with Junior FIRST Lego League reaching out of kids as young as 6.
If you’re in the Seattle area, drop by the Key Arena to catch some of the action. You won’t be sorry.