Saturday was the kickoff for the FIRST Robotics Competition (FRC) for 2013. I’ve participated for the last 5 years, coordinating finding judges for the North Texas competition. This year, the NTX FRC event will take place on March 21st-23rd at the Irving convention center. If you’re in town – be there. It’s free and an exciting show. I’ll probably not have time to do the global competition this year, but will help out with the initial FRC in Lubbock on March 1st-March 2nd.
FRC allows students to start from a standard kit of parts and some state of the art tools, received at the kickoff, and build a robot attempting to meet specified objectives. At the end of the build period, the robots are packed up and they do not see them again until their first competition.
This video is an overview of this year’s challenge – Ultimate Ascent:
I’ve found FRC to be an eye opening experience for the students and the volunteers. Every year I am surprised at the ingenuity and sacrifice that is demonstrated by those participating.
The main competition is judged by numerous factors beyond how they perform on the field, like:
- Coopertition (helping others that you are competing against)
- Project planning
- Technical achievement
- Business plan and marketing
The on field performance is not judged, since it has its own rules… Referees determine the winners of that portion of the competition.
You can see some video from previous year’s NTX FIRST competition as well.