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Robots Go Wild at the Robotics Competition (Video)

Roblimo posted more than 2 years ago | from the greetings-to-our-new-robotic-basketball-overlords dept.

Technology 49

The Robots Rock. They Sock. They Rebound. And they *SCORE* at the Robotics Competition, which is open to high school teams all over the U.S. -- including the Michigan competition where Robert 'samzenpus' Rozeboom shot this video. He says, "Pretty neat competition, made me wish we had a team when I was a kid."

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Yeah, it's true. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39769717)

I don't believe in America! I don't believe in tricked into so I could Hillbilly Mutt 20's bootysnapness minuteness!

Re:Yeah, it's true (at least TRY, lazyass troll) (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39769767)

so I saw this big fat heifer-sow of a woman at the grocery store. this one was easily in the 300-350lb range and i was surpirsed to see she could waddle on her own without the assistance of a wheeled electric fat-cart. i also was really very shocked and amazed to observe that she was raiding the donuts. no mere half-dozen or full dozen box is enough for her. oh, no. she had to nab the biggest box the place sold, the two-dozen box.

but you see, there was a problem. she simply could not hold out. it would be a whole 10-15 minutes before she could complete her shopping and check-out. though i am certain she struggled mightily to control herself, alas, it was far too long to wait. the craving and the temptation became far too much for her puny willpower. she was overcome and she knew it. still standing in the bakery/pastry area of the store, she could not help her self. she cracked open the box right then and there and started eating the fat-sugar-and-grease filled donuts. i think it was an empty box she brought to the check-out.

but oh how it was worth it. though she said nothing you could see how her heart sang. like the lover to his long-lost beloved, or the heroin addict to the needle and spoon, or the crackhead to that white rock, she was propelled by what she most cared about. of course she was a bit self-conscious. you could almost see it written on her face, thoughts like "they're going to think this is why I am so grotesquely fat" and "my decision making obviously could never have anything to do with my disgusting self-hating bloated fatbody obesity, i am not responsible, could not be responsible, it must be my big bones because bone always looks exactly like flabby jiggling rolls of fat".

listen up and learn well. hear the words of wisdom. even though it is proven absolutely by empirical observation, basic physics and mathematics, and the like, that you CANNOT POSSIBLY gain weight if you eat fewer calories than you burn... well despite all of these fancy "facts" and all of that bullshit book-learnin', obscenely fat heifers like her have no responsibility for their condition. it is always someone or something else's fault. true they could eat less or exercise more, or preferably both, but who has time for that? i mean damn, YOU try spending 10 hours of your waking day eating yourself into an early grave and then see how much time is left over for things like eating less or exercising more. quit being so damned insensitive.

so the next time you see a big fat sweaty sow of a woman whose rolls of fat on her shoulder blades look like a distorted, backward-facing second pair of breasts, you need to give her a mercy fuck. do it to take one for the team. do it to prove how much of a non-bigot you are. do it so you can finally expose the LIE that people who take responsibility for their lives gain the ability to improve themselves. we sure as hell can't have people believing in that.

just be sure to have on hand a 10 pound bag of flour. better make that two, just in case. you might need it for that mercy fuck. you see, there is so much more to love that you might have difficulty locating the vaginal opening. that's where the flour kicks in and saves the day, or the night. you simply roll her around in it and look for the wet spot. that, good sir, is your target. you will thank me in the morning, but fear not -- from the kindness of my heart i give this wisdom freely.

SawThis (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39769753)

I actually got the opportunity to watch this in Oklahoma City about a month back. It is very entertaining.

Dallas Regionals (4, Interesting)

BigSlowTarget (325940) | more than 2 years ago | (#39769775)

I did the game announcing for the Dallas Regionals this year. The game is a combination of autonomous and teleoperated. The bots that won took advantage of higher point score values during the autonomous period and/or did strategic moves like gathering up ammunition during that period and it made a difference even though it was only 15 seconds long. Some ball targeting was really impressive. It was also the first time since Battlebots that I've seen 1000+ people cheering robots.

We need more sports like this (5, Insightful)

vawwyakr (1992390) | more than 2 years ago | (#39769859)

It would be great if more people would get into this sort of competition. It combines some skill with a lot of talent just like other sports just less physical. I see the need for physical sports too obviously but think of how far we could go if we devoted even 1% of the energy we spend on other sports onto something like this.

Re:We need more sports like this (3, Insightful)

Lord_Jeremy (1612839) | more than 2 years ago | (#39771979)

I was very active in my high school's FRC team. We were always complaining about how we got zero support from the school and had to raise thousands of dollars for fees and materials ourselves.

Writing the C code that drove our robots was one of my first real "production" programming projects and the whole experience was incredibly educational. FIRST robotics was hands down the most fun thing I did in high school.

Re:We need more sports like this (2)

x1r8a3k (1170111) | more than 2 years ago | (#39774451)

I was part of a group that tried to get a team started at my high school. We got about $150 from the school if I remember right. Current registration costs are $6500, plus the cost of spare parts, transport, tools, etc.

Raising that much money isn't really feasible for high schoolers without getting a corporate sponsor.

We wound up spending the few hundred we managed to get on a parts kit and built a bot in one of our parent's basement. It could have been fairly competitive, but we couldn't get to enter because of the huge fees. I'd love to know where all that money goes to.

Re:We need more sports like this (1)

cusco (717999) | more than 2 years ago | (#39775257)

Sounds like my experience in the high school theatre group (1970s). Wish we'd have had robotics competition, but at that time an industrial robot that could screw on lug nuts was considered cutting edge.

Guys (4, Informative)

Intrepid imaginaut (1970940) | more than 2 years ago | (#39769875)

Wicked echo on the voiceover there, can you record that stuff in front of a curtain, or hang cloth over the walls or something. Its the little things.

But yeah this looks like a lot of fun.

Re:Guys (1)

pinkj (521155) | more than 2 years ago | (#39775495)

Wicked echo on the voiceover there, can you record that stuff in front of a curtain, or hang cloth over the walls or something. Its the little things.

But yeah this looks like a lot of fun.

I work in audio post-production so I always try to tell myself that most people don't have the know-how when it comes to recording, editing and mixing audio. Because if I didn't, I would be screaming at 95% of all the videos I watch on the internet.

Common voice over problems are:
1. Recording near the blaring computer fans.
2. Popping the mic on lips plosives (Ps and Bs)
3. Being too far from the mic (like in this case)
4. Clipping the recording.
5. Using an incredibly crappy webcam mic.

High School Projects Have Come A Long Way (1)

alltradeschools (2623811) | more than 2 years ago | (#39769961)

Back in my day it seemed the big high school project was the hover craft on the basketball court. I think the robotics competition draws a bigger crowd!

Re:High School Projects Have Come A Long Way (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39770067)

Back in my day, the big high school science project was to stick a penny and a roofing nail in a lemon. Of course, the penny was actual copper and not zinc, so this worked. We looked mighty stylish with our onions hanging from our belts as we accepted are Junior Scientists of Year awards.

Re:High School Projects Have Come A Long Way (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39773707)

Pennies are -still copper- on the outside. Wouldn't the lemon battery still work as long as the zinc interior of the penny is not breached?

FIRST in MN (3, Interesting)

micromegas (536234) | more than 2 years ago | (#39770023)

I had the honor of being a judge at the Lake Superior REgionals this year. These kids are AWESOME! I heard a great statement, "Sport Robotics is the only sport where everyone can turn pro!" This year, students can letter in robotics in the state or Minnesota! Another fact, in MN there are 156 high school hockey teams and 154 high school robotics teams.

Re:FIRST in MN (3, Insightful)

BigT (70780) | more than 2 years ago | (#39771021)

At a given school, which team (hockey or robotics) gets more money from the school, and which has to raise funds for its activities?

Re:FIRST in MN (2)

micromegas (536234) | more than 2 years ago | (#39771119)

A great point! Part of what the judges look for in FIRST is how the team "markets" itself. Good teams have an entire sub-team devoted to marketing, web design, outreach and getting local sponsors. This gives "non-technical" types a away to be active and really contribute. But you are right, it's a bit illogical to give school money to a sport where very few can make a career out of the skills they develop it it.

Mentors (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39770079)

I've had some family members compete and I've had the opportunity to attend some of the regional events over the last couple of years. Very cool! I know the organization is very heavy into developing mentor/mentee relationship. That's something that works very well and encourages the younger team members to step up the following year. One thing I'd like to see them change is allowing the adult mentor to stand behind the students during the competition. Some of those adults are a little too competitive and for me them shouting instructions during the actual competition is a bit too much. You've help the students enough. Please let them compete without interference.

Re:Mentors (1)

NixieBunny (859050) | more than 2 years ago | (#39770777)

Tee hee. I'm one of those mentors who was lucky enough to get to stand behind the students on my team this year and coach them on the field. I didn't do any shouting, but I did a lot of micromanaging. That's the job of a coach on the field - you have to see the bigger picture and provide low-level guidance to the driver and operator since they are completely absorbed just in driving the robot to do the little task you've given them.

I do agree that a few of the coaches are a bit too competitive, but I would say that's only a couple percent of them. The overwhelming majority were amazingly pleasant and helpful. They are the sort of person who'd give you the shirt off their back.

Re:Mentors (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39772353)

Same thing here.

I was drive coach this year, and most of what I was doing was reminding the students driving of how much time was left in the match, looking at the video feed to see if there were balls on the field (behind the ramps) that we couldn't see, and talking with coaches from other teams to coordinate strategy (esp. getting on the bridge).

There definitely are mentors that are overly competitive, but as the parent said it's a vanishingly small number.

Additionally, we actually had a student who was the drive coach when I couldn't make it or we were in a match that we were pretty sure to win. I've actually seen teams where the drive team - including the drive coach - was entirely students.

Re:Mentors (2)

micromegas (536234) | more than 2 years ago | (#39771169)

Most of the teams I judged this year, the kids were adamant that the mentors are there to facilitate, not participate. It does happen but, not as much as one might think.

Re:Mentors (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39779303)

I've had some family members compete and I've had the opportunity to attend some of the regional events over the last couple of years. Very cool! I know the organization is very heavy into developing mentor/mentee relationship. That's something that works very well and encourages the younger team members to step up the following year. One thing I'd like to see them change is allowing the adult mentor to stand behind the students during the competition. Some of those adults are a little too competitive and for me them shouting instructions during the actual competition is a bit too much. You've help the students enough. Please let them compete without interference.

Well, some companies take it a little too far. Like having engineers whose full-time job is helping the local teams win this competition.

We're doing FLL this year (1)

CowTipperGore (1081903) | more than 2 years ago | (#39770085)

I ran across the FLL last year while looking for some extracurriculars for our homeschoolers. My two oldest are in the range for FLL so I looked into our options for local participation. I was pleasantly surprised to find five or six teams in our small town (population 50,000) and at least a dozen within an hour's drive. The local 4H clubs work with NASA to sponsor teams, which eliminates most of the cost barriers. I am coaching a team this year and will be responsible for perhaps $200 (depending on tournament and travel costs); the 4H is covering over $700 in national registration, robot, practice field, etc. If I want to bother with soliciting, it should be simple to get the remaining costs covered by businesses or colleges.

NASA also works with colleges and other groups to bring training to you. I recently attended a free all day training at a local Montessori school - it was targeted at teachers who want to use LEGO robotics in the classroom but included several homeschool parents and even a local artist who wants to give life to some of his work. The class provided a great introduction to using the NXT software and some suggestions for projects that can be used in math and science classrooms; attending it also qualifies me to checkout their loaner lab for a week or two at a time, which includes 9 stations (laptop with NXT software, robot, and lots of extra parts).

These are expensive toys for sure, but a bit of creativity and looking for local support can get them in your hands for next to nothing.

Re:We're doing FLL this year (4, Informative)

radtea (464814) | more than 2 years ago | (#39770565)

There's also VEX: []

FLL, VEX and FRC have different advantages, but all of them are great.

I've been a mentor with a FIRST FRC team for the past three years, and if anyone had told me four years ago how much fun it would be to work with a bunch of high-school students I'd've told them they were nuts. As it turns out, they're one of the best groups of people I've ever worked with: eager to learn, flexible in their thinking, creative and capable. It's like Scouts or Guides for the 21st century. Kids come out of it able to debug complex systems, diagnose mechanical, electrical and software issues, work as a team, argue for their own ideas and reach principled agreement with others.

VEX is great because it puts all the work in the hands of the kids themselves. It's more economically feasible, too. VEX is a Mechano-like system that can be put together with simple tools but is incredibly flexible in the freedom of design it gives. One of my kids has been on a VEX team and last year they were getting a mysterious clicking sound from the robot when it lifted one arm... turned out they'd under-speced the shaft, which had twisted inside the bushing to the point that it looked more like a drill-bit. That's the kind of lesson that will make these kids better engineers, come the day.

FLL is awesome because it's so universally accessible, and there's no better way to teach kids things like the meaning of an infinite loop than for them to see their FLL bot repeating the same endless pattern when trapped by field objects.

The great thing about all these programs is they aren't battle-bots: they are solving far more interesting problems than "smash the other guy", which is really a kind of sad and silly pre-modern use of robots, which are giving us new and fundamental capabilities to create prosperity so we don't have any urge to smash the other guy (not that that urge ever made much sense.)

This is a world-wide phenomenon: I'm in Canada, which routinely produces world-championship FRC teams (the team I help mentor isn't one of them... yet) and there are teams in Europe and elsewhere.

If you've got kids and are interested in technology, you can't do better than to get involved in a local robotics organization. The future is happening right now, in your local schools, and you can be part of it.

Re:We're doing FLL this year (1)

cusco (717999) | more than 2 years ago | (#39773853)

4H and NASA? There's a match that I would never have imagined in any context at all. Very cool.

Transcript (4, Informative)

QuasiSteve (2042606) | more than 2 years ago | (#39770167)

Title: Robert 'samzenpus' Rozeboom Takes You to the Michigan FIRST Robotics Competition
Description: They rock. They sock. They rebound. They SCORE! at the Robotics Competition.

00:00) <TITLE>
Scenes at the robotics competition are shown throughout the presentation.
The SlashdotTV logo bar reads "Robert 'samzenpus' Rozeboom Takes You to the Michigan FIRST Robots Competition" before fading out.

00:03) Robert>
Part pepperly[?], part battlebots and part rewards ceremony.
The non-profit FIRST Robotics Competition allows kids to learn about technology in a hands-on way and have fun doing it.
Founded by Dean Kamen, this year marks the 21st season of the competition.
The FRC has grown from one event to almost 60, and from 28 teams to over 2,000.

00:05) Robert>
Each team is made up of 10 to 25 high school aged kids, who work with a group of adult mentors and engineers.
The teams get 6 weeks to build robots from a common set of parts.
Once the build season is over, teams compete locally - with a chance to go to state or even national championships.
The FRC is giving out almost $14M in prizes and scholarships this year, ranging from a one-time $500 prize to a 4-year full right scholarship.

01:41) Robert>
This year's competition is called 'The Rebound Rumble'.
Each team uses 3 remotely controlled robots, to score as many points in 2:15s matches possible.
The match begins with a 15-second hybrid period, in which robots operate independently of driver input.
During this period, 1 robot in each team may be controlled using a Microsoft Kinect.
In the remaining 2 minutes, drivers score as many baskets as they can with their robots.
The higher the basket, the greater the number of points.
The match ends with robots attempting to balance on bridges located at the middle of the court.

02:15) Robert>
Watching a bunch of 150-pound robots crash into each other and shoot baskets, is a pretty good way to spend an afternoon.

02:29> <TITLE>
The SlashdotTV logo bar reads "Robert 'samzenpus' Rozeboom Takes You to the Michigan FIRST Robots Competition" fades back in.

From the experience of a mentor (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39770203)

I'm a mentor for one of the teams and the program is actually quite meaningful if done right.

Before a significant involvement of some engineers, the teachers ran the program like a shop class and hardly any time and thought was put into the design of the robot.

After a few years of introducing concepts like modularity, center of gravity, design with CAD, and brainstorming sessions, the team performs much better and the feedback from the kids involved has been much better. Before, the kids took math because they had to. Recently, with some work on figuring the angle of chain off a sprocket for spacing, the kids have been telling me they now understand why trigonometry is useful.

The big tragedy, though, comes when the kids don't get to work alongside scientists and engineers. They don't get much appreciation of science and engineering and are still stuck in the shop class version...

Alternative Robotics Competitions (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39770281)

Years ago I participated as a coach for a few years. It is exciting to watch but in my opinion the competition has a lot of issues. First of all it is expensive to enter. When I did it was over $8,000. Second the sponsors for the most part build the robot. Certainly all the robots that place in the top half are built by the sponsors. The kids have minimal involvement in the design and building. The main sponsors are car companies and defense contractors. Several told me they almost shutdown their machine shops for several weeks to get it built. The winning robots probably cost over $150,000 when you add everything. I think the better robotics competition is Best. It is free to enter. The kids design and build the robots. Sponsors spend a few thousand for things like T-shirts, building a practice field and maybe some travel.

Robofest as an Alternative Robotics Competition (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39771285)

I chose Robofest over FIRST Robotics several years ago for a few reasons:

#1 The competition is not cost prohibitive for schools. Students ranging from lower elementary to high school can compete for the price of a Lego Mindstorms kit (~$250.00). Even home school students can participate. Each team does not need to seek a corporate sponsor, and the parts can be reused each year.

#2 The robots are 100% autonomous. There is no remote control allowed. This aligns more closely to the needs of industry. For instance, robots that build cars are not operated by remote control. Students who have to build robots that run autonomously have therefore gained highly marketable programming skills.

#3 Students have to compete on their own merit. Robots are asked to complete additional tasks and deal with unknown variables during the tournament. Parents and coaches are not allowed to interact with the students while they prepare their robots at the tournament.

On the flip side, FIRST is the larger organization. The tournaments are more spectacular, and the press coverage is greater.

Note that there are plenty of other great tournaments available for schools to participate, such as FIRST Tech Challenge and VEX robotics competition. If you are a S.T.E.M. teacher reading this post, I highly encourage you to participate in one of these competitions as it adds relevance and rigor to your curriculum.

Re:Robofest as an Alternative Robotics Competition (1)

Ksevio (865461) | more than 2 years ago | (#39773787)

That sounds similar to the FIRST Lego League (FIRST for younger students). The robots are only made of LEGOs and are required to complete "missions" autonomously.

Along with it are other educational/research tasks (such as bio/nano engineering, energy, etc) that the students create a presentation on, and the robot missions are somewhat related to the theme of the year.

It does have the advantage of being the same people running it as the larger FIRST events, so they have access to a larger amount of resources. Making the tournaments spectacular is really just down to showmanship - spending $2k to set up some fancy lights in a gym goes a long way at very little cost relative to the number of people present. Of course with the smaller LEGO robots, it doesn't matter as much since one light is going to illuminate the entire field.

I wish I had one of these organizations when I was in HS (mine just got a team recently) - they seems to be a great resource for people wanting to try their hand in robotics.

Disagree (1)

gr8_phk (621180) | more than 2 years ago | (#39771377)

I mentored a team in Michigan, and there are some that get professional engineering done by sponsors. But on our team the kids did most of the design, most of the construction, and all of the software. Some custom fabrication was done by sponsors, but not design or assembly. The adults were there to make suggestions and do things that were beyond the kids abilities - but a good mentor will have the kids take a crack at it first. We managed to get to nationals with a mostly kid-driven effort, and Michigan is the toughest state to get through regionals.

Re:Disagree (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39772887)

I agree with gr8_phk. I've been mentoring a team for 6 years now. Every line of code is written by students. Every part is designed and machined by students. The entire robot design is created by students. Yes, there are very successful teams who clearly have a lot of adult input. That is not the majority of teams however.

Re:Alternative Robotics Competitions (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39772445)

So, before anyone forms an opinion based on this little shot of haterade, I would encourage them you look at this forum thread:

Re:Alternative Robotics Competitions (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39772615)

While I agree that many (not all) of the good teams have sponsors design and build the robot, not all of them do. I've been a mentor for 3 years now, and each time the kids do the majority of the design and building. It shows, as the robots don't look or perform anywhere near as well as some of the ones out there. There were several times I wanted to step in and tell them to scrap an idea as I knew it would never work, but I let them figure it out on their own.

Get involved with FIRST (2)

tlivingd (2624247) | more than 2 years ago | (#39770389)

I'm a mentor for FIRST Team 4095 Team RoXI of Pius XI High School out of Milwaukee WI. It was our rookie year this year and we didn't do all that well, but we were there with more than a plywood box (but close though). I was also a student on FIRST team 13 of Johnsburg IL 1996 through 1998. FIRST is a great project for those interested in STEM and Business and Marketing students too. Our team was a team of 12 kids and 2 mentors. While most teams are double or triple the number of participants. When starting, most of our team didn't even know how to use a drill. After the very short and intense 6 week build season, they all have that figured out, and have better learned the engineering portion of the event. They also got into mathematics of projectile motion. All to build a robot that is 28"x38"x60"tall and max weight of 120lbs. The event changes every year, and the size constraints change a little bit every year. The other interesting thing with FIRST Robotics is the way they made the event more than just cheering on your own robot. You are teamed up with two other teams for the event. For this last year a game of 3 on 3 basketball. So teams cheer themselves on along with 2 other teams who earlier were opponents to them. There is a lot of opportunity to volunteer being a mentor to a local team as well or even sponsor a team. I know our team is looking for all types of mentors and sponsors, ME, EE, Machinists, CS, programming, Business, Marketing. If you're even a little bit interested check out [] for more information. -Nate

That didn't last very long (0)

g051051 (71145) | more than 2 years ago | (#39770513)

What happened to "we listened" over the slashdot tv blowback? Why is this retarded piece of garbage on the front page at all? If it has a place *at all*, it should be in idle, or just in the TV section, where I can safely ignore it.

The editors seemed earnest enough last time they posted a lame video that blew up in their faces. Did you guys just hand the keys to some marketing morons and give up? It just seems so ridiculous to take all that heat, answer back with promises of improvements, then shoot *another* of these dumb things, and post it on the front page instead of where it belongs!

STOP WITH THE IDIOTIC VIDEO STUFF! If you must create videos, put them on youtube where they belong. YOU ARE NOT REPORTERS. You are editors, and if you're wasting your time creating (bad) videos, then you're not spending the time you need to effectively manage the submissions and post News for Nerds, Stuff that Matters.

Re:That didn't last very long (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39771361)

Video? What video? All I see is an empty space below the so-called article.

Oh, you mean to tell me that a technical website, for nerds, still uses Flash to displays videos in 2012?

Slashdot. Code from 2005. Stuff to sell more ads.

My experiance (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39770561)

As a kid (now 3rd of mechanical engineering degree) who competed in this competition for two years it is a great opportunity for people to get into engineering and can really help people who don’t want to do a traditional sport or language. Anyone who can help their local team do it is good for everyone involved.

Team 759 Systemetric forever. Brits showing the yanks how it’s done since 2002

Replace American Idol with this (1)

RogueWarrior65 (678876) | more than 2 years ago | (#39770651)

What this country desperately needs is all the fortune and glory of American Idol channeled into this. IMHO, if kids thought they could become technological rock stars instead of ostracized nerds, technical fields would get a much greater influx of talent. Unfortunately, the people seem to be addicted to the bread & circuses.

Impressive for highschool students! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39770891)

However I'm pretty sure that they needed a lot of help making them because creating these things require college level electrical engineering knowledge, but the fact that this exists is just plain cool! I wish more sports like these existed and at a higher-level, maybe even a good range of autonomous battles. >: D

Re:Impressive for highschool students! (1)

gr8_phk (621180) | more than 2 years ago | (#39771635)

However I'm pretty sure that they needed a lot of help making them because creating these things require college level electrical engineering knowledge

The amount of help varies from team to team, but you'd be absolutely amazed at what kids can design in CAD these days. There are also some good programmers out there. The electronics isn't that hard with the fancy controllers provided in the kit. They provide some big motors and PWM drives that are easily connected to the controller - where the software lives. For autonomous play software is key. For RC play, the software will generally pass control inputs from the radio to the actuators, but there is often opportunity to add some PIDs to aid stability or otherwise customize the control. One year we had a camera that could give coordinates of a colored light over the goal - this allowed an automatic tracker to be implemented even in remote control mode so you could throw balls at any time.

This was a lot of fun (1)

LoLobey (1932986) | more than 2 years ago | (#39770983)

My son started high school this year and joined the robotics club and I became a half-assed mentor to the team. We've been to a couple of regionals now and they are a lot of fun. A surprisingly intense 3 days-

The first day you arrive, unpack the robot (after bag inspection- there's a strictly enforced 6 week build period at the conclusion of which you have to bag the robot and put a security tag on it, though you can keep up to 30 pounds separate to continue work on), setup your pit area in a 10' X 10' square (some teams have very elaborate pits), ready your robot for competition and pass final inspection (extensive- robot weight (minus battery) 120 lbs. or less, size constraints, bumper constraints, thorough electrical and hazard inspection) and do any practice rounds you can get in. All the while folks are coming by to see your robot and talk to you about it and we're scouting everyone else.

The next day and a half are qualification matches for the finals- you're randomly teamed with 2 other teams on either a red or blue alliance for each round and you have at it. About 10 rounds. In the qualification rounds you get 2 qualification points for being on the winning alliance plus there's 2 more qualification points available to both alliances if someone from your alliance and the opposing alliance manage to balance together on the "coopertition bridge". After the qualification matches the top seeded bots get to choose 2 other bots for their alliance to go through the playoffs with. 8 teams are formed and this is where the scouting comes into play, you want to pick team members that complement you bot.

The playoffs are best of 3 matches and are fast and intense- not much time for repairs in between matches. We made it to semi-finals in one regional, only the quarter finals in the other, very exciting. The winning alliance is crowned at the end, but that's not the top prize- top prize is the Chairman's award which involves your total involvement with FIRST and community outreach and involvement. Of course lots of other awards are given, various judging awards and what not, everyone has a blast. I'm looking forward to next year.

-Mentor Team 832 OSCAR

2012 VEX Robotics High School World Championship (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39771167)

Hey what gives you dont cover the VEX Robotics High School World Championship April 19-21 which was in Anahime Calf.

There I am! (1)

HaDAk (913691) | more than 2 years ago | (#39771843)

Nice. You can see me shooting photos at the top left, near the end. That's pretty awesome.

Only in videos (1)

Princeofcups (150855) | more than 2 years ago | (#39771905)

He is forty-eight years old, and he was part of GeekNet.
He is forty-eight years old, and he was part of Slashdot.
Only in videos will we have our own names since only in videos are we no longer part of the effort. In videos we become heroes.
And the crowds yell, "Robert Rozeboom."

Knoxville (1)

Spiked_Three (626260) | more than 2 years ago | (#39772895)

Saw my first one of these a year or two ago in Knoxville TN. I was from the area and didn't expect much - it is frankly a poor and dumb area of the country.

What I was surprised to find was all new Cadillacs in the parking lot. People carrying around personal cameras that were broadcast quality etc. There was nothing but money here. Most of the 'bots' were custom CNC'd and anodized, again, indicating a lot of money.
And I had to wonder, does a poor kid stand a chance?

They place far too little emphasis on autonomous operation. As organized, its just remote control basketball. (white kids can't jump, so I guess they came up with this as alternative for rich kids?)

2012 Championships in St. Louis this week (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39773335) []

All levels of FIRST (JrFLL, FLL, FTC and FRC) will be there. I'll have the pleasure of judging for the FLL World Festival again this year.

Admission is free--come and see if you're in the region /K

Robotics Competitions (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39776077)

One of the longest, if not the original robotics competition, is the Jerry Sanders Creative Design Competition ("JSDC") that takes place during Engineering Open House at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. More information on this annual competition can be found here:

Would anyone be interested in finding out more information about JSDC?

what a gyp! (1)

Gravis Zero (934156) | more than 2 years ago | (#39778279)

i watched this because i was told "Robots Go Wild" and yet there were no robo-boobies. what the hell?

No robots participated (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39780473)

There were no robots in the competition. All the devices entered were remote controlled.

A robot is an autonomous device that makes its own decisions. (An android is a robot spiffied up to look like a human.)

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