Thursday, March 26, 2009

Building Robots to take over the world

I apologize for not writing lately. I've been busy lately working with the South Grand Prairie Robotics team. I tell everyone it's to build robots to take over the world but it's really to build a robot for the FIRST Robotics Challenge.

The FIRST Robotics Challenge is (FRC) is a great organization where high school kids are given a game, a “kit”, and 6 weeks to build a robot to play the game.

The game is called Lunacy. Basically, you try to put your balls in your opponantes trailer. Every robot has a trailer behind it and so while you're trying to dump in someone's trailer, they're trying to dump in someone elses trailer.

The kit is a set of parts to build a basic Robot with enough programming to have a joy stick control it. From there, each team needs to figure out how to dump balls in opponents trailer, what to do in autonomous mode (the first 15 seconds of the match)

FIRST is a national challenge sponsored by a lot of technical companies who will need engineers in the future and want to get the kids interested now. They are a very organized group who have regional robot tournaments in various parts of the country.

The team I'm working with is Team 704, associated with the South Grand Prairie High school Robotics team. Each team, once a number is assigned, keeps that number and the numbers aren't re-used. If a team disbands, the number is no longer used. Team 704 has been going since 2001 sponsored by physics teacher extraordinaire Phil Harris.

I'll write more later. I just want close by saying that high school kids who are even vagually interested in robots should go to and find a team in your area. If you're an adult (who is a kid at heart) you can help mentor a team. (Even though they're using LabVIEW)