My son Nathan is a team member of the Nashua High School (North and South) FIRST robotics team. FIRST
is an organization founded by Dean Kamen, inventor of the Segway, to promote innovation and technology among kids. The FIRST Robotics Challenge is a competition held each year that pits robots built by the
teams against each other in accomplishing some set task.
This years task involved taking 40 inch diameter balls around a track. The balls start out on a
cross piece 6 feet above the ground. The robots get points for each time they go around the track,
plus more for each time their balls go around the track and even more points if the ball goes over
the cross piece. Six teams compete during each match, with three forming the “red alliance” and
three forming the “blue alliance”. By forming these alliances, different strategies of cooperation
can be used.
The competition was held at the Verizon Wireless Arena in Manchester NH, and took place over
three days. The first day was for prep work with the matches running over the next two days. Winners
at the regional contests go on to the world competition in Atlanta. I say world, because there are
quite a number of teams from other countries now.
There were a lot of interesting ideas used in the robots, including one made out of wood! I have
a Flickr set of the competition from Friday here.