2014 FIRST Robotics Competition contestants learn this year’s robot task

Students are gathering at kickoff parties across the globe on Jan. 4 to begin planning and building their tele-operated robots, readying them for competition season and the FIRST Championship in April.

12/31/2013


This Frisbee-throwing robot was created last year by assistant coach Paul Grayson’s FRC Team 3767, Titan Robotics, of Traverse City, Mich. The team, which consists of 25 high school students, was formed in 2011 and will be competing in this year’s FRC under a new name, Toxic Bots.Strict rules, limited resources, time crunch, and stiff competition. High school robotics teams are about to learn the tasks their robots must complete to win the 2014 FIRST Robotics Competition (FRC). The 22-year-old, weeks-long contest is a varsity sport that allows students to become real-world engineers.

The sponsoring organization, For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology (FIRST), is a nonprofit dedicated to inspiring young people to learn science, technology, and engineering skills through mentoring, scholarship, and competitive programs, like FRC.

This year, more than 3,100 FRC teams will meet at local kickoff parties for the unveiling of the tasks their robots must complete to win. In competitions past, teams have developed tele-operated robots that maneuver on lunar-like surfaces, toss Frisbees, shoot basketballs, kick soccer balls, and climb jungle gyms.

The kickoff parties mark the beginning of a six-week design and build season that leads up to a series of elimination competitions. At the events, teams gather to compare notes, exchange ideas, make friends, and find mentors. But most importantly, competitors pick up their “Kit of Parts”—the approximately 2,000 basic parts needed to build the robot’s tele-operated drive base.

Teams generally spend just hours building the base and then the next six weeks tackling the year’s game challenges. Upon finalizing their design and build, competitors pack and seal their robots only to be opened at local, regional, and state contests. This year, the competition season culminates in St. Louis, Mo., April 23-26, at the Edward Jones Dome where the best 650 FRC teams gather for the FIRST Championship.

The FRC Championship is just one component of the three-day event. Two other robotics competitions, the FIRST Tech Challenge World Championship and FIRST LEGO League World Festival, also close their seasons in April.

-Paul Grayson is a chief engineer at American Industrial Magic and mentors two FRC Teams in Traverse City, Mich. Edited by Jordan M. Schultz, associate content manager, CFE Media, Control Engineering and Plant Engineering, jschultz@cfemedia.com



No comments
The Top Plant program honors outstanding manufacturing facilities in North America. View the 2015 Top Plant.
The Product of the Year program recognizes products newly released in the manufacturing industries.
The Engineering Leaders Under 40 program identifies and gives recognition to young engineers who...
Your leaks start here: Take a disciplined approach with your hydraulic system; U.S. presence at Hannover Messe a rousing success
Hannover Messe 2016: Taking hold of the future - Partner Country status spotlights U.S. manufacturing; Honoring manufacturing excellence: The 2015 Product of the Year Winners
Inside IIoT: How technology, strategy can improve your operation; Dry media or web scrubber?; Six steps to design a PM program
Getting to the bottom of subsea repairs: Older pipelines need more attention, and operators need a repair strategy; OTC preview; Offshore production difficult - and crucial
Digital oilfields: Integrated HMI/SCADA systems enable smarter data acquisition; Real-world impact of simulation; Electric actuator technology prospers in production fields
Special report: U.S. natural gas; LNG transport technologies evolve to meet market demand; Understanding new methane regulations; Predictive maintenance for gas pipeline compressors
Warehouse winter comfort: The HTHV solution; Cooling with natural gas; Plastics industry booming
Managing automation upgrades, retrofits; Making technical, business sense; Ensuring network cyber security
Designing generator systems; Using online commissioning tools; Selective coordination best practices

Annual Salary Survey

Before the calendar turned, 2016 already had the makings of a pivotal year for manufacturing, and for the world.

There were the big events for the year, including the United States as Partner Country at Hannover Messe in April and the 2016 International Manufacturing Technology Show in Chicago in September. There's also the matter of the U.S. presidential elections in November, which promise to shape policy in manufacturing for years to come.

But the year started with global economic turmoil, as a slowdown in Chinese manufacturing triggered a worldwide stock hiccup that sent values plummeting. The continued plunge in world oil prices has resulted in a slowdown in exploration and, by extension, the manufacture of exploration equipment.

Read more: 2015 Salary Survey

Maintenance and reliability tips and best practices from the maintenance and reliability coaches at Allied Reliability Group.
The One Voice for Manufacturing blog reports on federal public policy issues impacting the manufacturing sector. One Voice is a joint effort by the National Tooling and Machining...
The Society for Maintenance and Reliability Professionals an organization devoted...
Join this ongoing discussion of machine guarding topics, including solutions assessments, regulatory compliance, gap analysis...
IMS Research, recently acquired by IHS Inc., is a leading independent supplier of market research and consultancy to the global electronics industry.
Maintenance is not optional in manufacturing. It’s a profit center, driving productivity and uptime while reducing overall repair costs.
The Lachance on CMMS blog is about current maintenance topics. Blogger Paul Lachance is president and chief technology officer for Smartware Group.
This article collection contains several articles on the vital role that compressed air plays in manufacturing plants.
This article collection contains several articles on the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) and how it is transforming manufacturing.
This article collection contains several articles on strategic maintenance and understanding all the parts of your plant.
click me