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Robotics Education

FIRST Robotics Competition Announced 73

Posted by kdawson
from the harsh-mistress dept.
Z80xxc! writes "FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) has officially announced the 2009 FIRST Robotics Competition. This competition, started by inventor Dean Kamen, encourages high-school students to design and build robots to compete with and against other FRC teams. The competition overview video is available from NASA. This year's competition is called 'Lunacy.' The game consists of a series of 135-second face-offs during which the student-designed robots must pick up 9-inch game balls and deposit them in trailers hitched to the opposing teams' robots. The game field is coated with regolith, a slick polymer material, and special wheels are used to create a low-traction interaction with the crater's surface. Together, these combine to simulate the one-sixth gravity on the surface of the moon. For any readers who are interested in participating, FRC teams can always use more adult mentors."
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FIRST Robotics Competition Announced

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  • Working Links? (Score:4, Informative)

    by Ksevio (865461) on Sunday January 04, 2009 @01:45AM (#26317691) Homepage
    None of the links in the summary work with the www in there...
    • Their server got killed with everyone trying to download the info on the new game should be back to normal operation shortly...

  • Lunar mining? Pffft. Make them fetch us a fscking beer!

  • by Anonymous Coward

    I participated in this competition just two years ago. Our robot would've worked a lot better had they left us programmers more than 6 hours to work with it... (darn mechanic guys always taking up more time than they should)

    Anyways, it was a blast, anyone who can participate in this really ought to.

  • Clarification (Score:5, Informative)

    by WingedGlobe (1394653) on Sunday January 04, 2009 @02:19AM (#26317843)
    The game has a moon theme. The playing field is being called a crater due to its shape. "Regolith" should have been in quotations, as the hard polymer sheeting is being used for a visual representation only. There are no rocks and dust and other fun things. The whole point was to create a slippery surface that's hard to drive on.
  • I'm with one of the FIRST teams, and we are all looking forward to doing this competition, but given the environment it is hard to come up with a good strategy for success, any ideas? as a note the field coating is not actually regolith, it is just reference being used for the game.
    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      You probably already know but just in case: the Chief Delphi forums are a great place to discuss and anticipate the game. That being said, this years game has many unique challenges and I wish your team the best of luck.

      Greetz from 675

  • The game field is coated with regolith, a slick polymer material, and special wheels are used to create a low-traction interaction with the crater's surface.

    The article summary references regolith. Wikipedia defines regolith as:

    [...] is a layer of loose, heterogeneous material covering solid rock. It includes dust, soil, broken rock, and other related materials [...]

    I remember the days when I was a member of a FIRST robotics team and we prepared for competitions by building practice fields to test out our robot and help prepare our human players. The fields we constructed were of fairly stable objects like PVC tetrahedrons and fairly large kickballs that made it easy to simulate actual conditions in a real tournament. How are teams supposed to simulate actual conditions if the terrain is so unstable

    • by story645 (1278106)

      How are teams supposed to simulate actual conditions if the terrain is so unstable and chaotic?

      For low friction: Tape down plastic table cloths and coat with oil? Or practice on a lawn after it's been washed? I'm sure the teammates can come up with some way to make a slippery field.
      I can see urban schools having a disadvantage, but they'll make do. My team also built the PVC tetrahedrons, but we had to limit all our practice to the some what narrow hall ways, so our biggest challenge was often just avoiding crashing the bot into a)students b)lockers.

  • by oljanx (1318801)
    So you have about a minute of autonomous robots chasing each others rears while kids lob 9 inch balls at them, followed by a minute of robots being controlled remotely by Counter Strike geeks. And it's slippery.
    • by lostguru (987112)
      nah most of our guys play newer games than counterstrike, and the autonomous period is only 15 seconds, dunno how anybody is gonna do much of anything other than slip during auto this year.

      MVRT 115!
      • by oljanx (1318801)
        Wow 15 seconds is not much time, especially in an arena of that size. I'd be surprised if one of the bots could simply navigate the length of the arena during that period, dodging other bots along way.
  • by callinyouin (1138469) on Sunday January 04, 2009 @03:16AM (#26318037)
    I call bullshit on this one. I'm pretty sure there have been robotics competitions before. Pretty sure as in around 99%.

    • by armanox (826486)
      FIRST is just an acronymn. The competition has been going on for years (my old high school is team 007), and kicks off at Capitol College every January (horray kicking off at my school!).
    • Well, it is the "2009 FIRST Robotics Competition", and it may well be the first one this year ;-)

    • by dwye (1127395)
      Ah, you just wanted an excuse for a FIRST post message, didn't you?
  • This sounds like Battlebots...except with the fighting...or fun.

    They need to build robots that spin and lift etc. and duel them out.

  • I am competing in team 2811. It's slightly interesting, other than the fact that 98% of the other people are both mentally and socially retarded.
    • Re: (Score:1, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Hint from a non-rookie team: Look up gracious professionalism.

      Hint 2: Judges read everything, and you represent your team.

      • Re: (Score:1, Funny)

        by Anonymous Coward

        Note to original poster: I *AM* a judge this year.
        I'm currently drunk and reading slashdot

    • Re: (Score:1, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      I was on a team for 6 years both as a student and a mentor. You my friend are most obviously the one suffering from said ailments. If you have a problem with your particular team, the're are many others around. I suggest however you learn how to help your team and take everything you can from the program. If you choose otherwise, might I suggest practicing your burger flipping skills, as you will most likely need it with your pessimistic attitude. Btw that program made my life, I currently earn over

      • I didn't call all smart people socially retarded, because I know a lot aren't. Why does almost every reply ASSUME I'm referring to `geeks`? I would call that exclusive the completely wrong direction if you want to ever have friends.
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by drinkypoo (153816)

      I am competing in team 2811. It's slightly interesting, other than the fact that 98% of the other people are both mentally and socially retarded.

      Whereas you are only socially retarded?

    • I suggest you be nice to those other 98%. When you get older, geeks rule the world -- and people who dismiss intelligence as unimportant pump the geeks' gas.

  • On a serious note...this competition is very cool, and I believe no true Slashdotter would disagree.

    I have been taking my kids (now 2,4 and 6) to the Granite State (New Hampshire) Regional since they were born, and they love it!

    I told my 4-year old son that the video was going to be released over the weekend, and he hounded me for days about it! After I downloaded it, he watched it 20 times!

    If you haven't been to one you probably wouldn't believe it - but it is truly a spectacle - and interesting for t

Behind every great computer sits a skinny little geek.