Recently, the FIRST Robotics Competition was held at the Boston University. FIRST stands for “For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology” and was conceptualized by no less than Dean Kamen. If the name is unfamiliar, think of the Segway Human Transporter. Does that ring a bell?
This competition covers four annual contests open to all grade levels in the United States: Junior LEGO League (ages 6 to 9), LEGO League (ages 9 to 12), and Tech Challenge (high school students). The main thing going for FIRST, though, is the Robotics Competition, which has gathered 12,000 students who are probably real geeks. Not the hipsters who seem to take pride in labeling themselves as geeks.
In the recently concluded FIRST Robotics Competition, teenagers are tasked with creating robots that are supposed to perform specific tasks. At the same time, the robots need to be able to defend against other robots so that the assigned tasks can be completed.
While the whole idea seems fun – and indeed, the contestants find it fun – there is a lot of hard work involved. The contestants actually get a kit at the start of the school year so that they have several months to work on their project. The ultimate test comes when they all get together to pit their robots against one another.
Here’s a sampling of what went on at the competition.
12,000 kids screaming and not for Justin Bieber. Any parent can be proud to have his/her kid in that crowd. I know I would.