| FIRST Robots
The world of robotics is rapidly expand-
ing and already spans diverse fields such
as medicine, education, entertainment,
automation, and transportation. Robotic
applications are becoming common; no
longer are robots mere fantasy in sci-
ence fiction, but we find them in our
homes, schools, and businesses.
Robots are integrated engineering
systems: a combination of mechanical,
electrical, electronic, and computer
technologies. They have been used to
inspire students and are popular tools
for learning for several reasons: avail-
ability of components to build them, our
familiarity with their use, and the multi-
disciplinary nature of their design.
FIRST Robotics Competition is
one example of using robots to inspire
students. FIRST is an acronym: For
Inspiration of Science and Technology.
The premise of
FIRST is to partner youth
with practicing professionals to solve
challenging engineering problems.
Robotics Competition participants build
sophisticated robotic devices that com-
pete in mechanical sports.
With balls being shot into goals and robots
fighting to climb on platforms, FIRST competi-
tions are exciting events. Since each match only
lasts a little over two minutes, every robot
maneuver is important and can determine the
outcome of a match.
Three teams form an alliance for each match,
where they compete against an opposing alliance
of teams. Each alliance is random; an alliance
member in one match could be an opponent in
the next match.
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FIRST teams consist of high school
students and faculty, engineers, techni-
cians, business leaders, university stu-
dents and staff, and concerned citizens.
Each year, a new “
FIRST game” is
developed which requires robots to per-
form a variety of tasks such as moving
across a field, climbing ramps, hanging
from bars, and placing objects in goals.
In addition to being manually operated
by remote control, the robots also oper-
ate under autonomous control for a
segment of each match.
Teams only have six weeks from
when the annual game is announced
and they receive the Kit of Parts to
design, build, program, and test their
robots. Following these six weeks, teams
compete at regional competitions held in
32 locations in North America and one in
Israel. The competitions are wildly excit-
ing, energetic, and motivating.
FIRST competitions are unique in
their structure and purpose. Alliances of
robots compete in each match, so
teams have to work together to play the
game. Competition on the field is paired
with cooperation between teams to
create an atmosphere of gracious
professionalism. The
FIRST Robotics
Awards support this goal;
most are based on attributes such as
spirit, entrepreneurship, inspiration,
teamwork, and effectiveness. The
teams compete aggressively but treat
each other kindly in the process.
The judging panels at each competi-
tion included engineers, educators, tech-
nologists, and business and government
leaders. The judges’ review is compre-
hensive, and they visit with each team
and observe the robots in competition.
This book salutes the high levels of
creativity, ingenuity, and design that go
into building
FIRST robots. The 30 robot
teams detailed in this book are exam-
ples of superior design in five cate-
gories: control, quality, creativity,
advanced technology, and industrial
design. Winning an award at a FIRST
Robotics Competition is a great accom-
plishment and an acknowledgement of
superior performance by the team. A
list of participants from each profiled
team is included in this book.
As exemplified by their willingness
to share their design successes, these
teams are fulfilling
FIRSTs mission to
inspire others. We hope the assembled
work serves as a template for learning
about robot design, and that it is a
resource for all who are interested in the
field of robotics.
Offense and defense are both important
parts of the game. Defending robots maneuver
to stop the most pressing scoring threats from
opposing robots that are shooting or climbing
the ramp.
The driver’s station is a safe place to be
for human competitors, protecting them from
robot collisions and the occasional flurry of
flying robot parts.
The playing field in front of the goals is a
popular place for robots. Half of the robots want
to be in front of the goal to score, but by doing
so they draw the attention of defending robots.
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