I mentioned a few weeks ago that the Darling Daughter is on her high school’s FIRST Robotics competition team. They’ve been burning the candle at both ends for about six straight weeks now, designing and building their robot and all the other business and community outreach support structure that goes with it. You can learn more about the FIRST program here. This isn’t just some kids playing around with batteries and gears. It’s serious engineering, and I’ve never seen anything quite like it.
Any stereotypes I used to nurture regarding lazy teenagers have been thoroughly demolished. Team 1710, the Ravonics Revolution, took their bot to the FIRST Robotics Greater Kansas City Regional competition last weekend to test their skills against 50 other teams from as far away as Iowa and Oklahoma, and they rocked the house.
The bot did well, making it to the quarterfinals and very nearly advancing to the semis. Where the team really shined, though, was in its dynamic advocacy of engineering careers to the community and the next generation of kids coming up through school. They scored three major awards:
The Engineering Inspiration Award, for outstanding success in advancing respect and appreciation for engineering and engineers, both within their school as well as their community.
The Industrial Safety Award, sponsored by Underwriters Laboratories, for progressing beyond safety fundamentals by using innovative ways to eliminate or protect against hazards.
The Animation Award, for best original computer-animated portrayal of this year’s FIRST theme. (watch it here…click the 2011 Autodesk Animation button)
Winning the Engineering Inspiration Award sends Team 1710 to the National Championship Event in St. Louis next month. Their bot gets a spot in the competition, and their computer animation will compete for a national award.
Here are some links to video of Team 1710′s matches during the competition. Robots competed in 3-team alliances, and the top eight qualifying teams were allowed to choose their alliance partners for the quarterfinal rounds and beyond, which made for some intense scouting and strategizing as the competition proceeded.
Team 1710′s matches:
You can watch the entire two-day event by clicking through the links on these three pages:
For more info about Team 1710, check out their website.
I’ve also posted some pictures of the Regional Competition in a Facebook album.