FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) Robotics Competition
The FIRST competition is the first competition that we do every year. FIRST was founded by Dean Kamen, the inventor of the Segway, to promote interest in engineering and science in our nation's youth. Historically, the United States has had an economy based on technology and science. Dean Kamen noticed a decrease in the number of engineers and scientists being trained, and set out to do something about it.
The kickoff held annually in January. At the kickoff we find out what the competition is and receive our kit of parts. We then have six weeks to build the robot. Then we bag-and-tag the robot, in which we put the robot in a giant plastic bag and seal it up. This is FIRST's way of making sure that each team has the exact same amount of time to work on the robot. A few weeks later we take the robot to the three day long regional competition at Hamilton High School. This last year the competition was Ultimate Ascent, where we attempted to shoot disks into slots on the wall and at the end of the match climb a three rung pyramid for extra points. We performed well at regionals, taking second in qualifying. We did well in quarterfinals until our robot's wiring had to be completely redone because of a safety regulation we were unaware of.
We also, however, won the Engineering Inspiration Award for our work promoting engineering and robotics to children in robotics clubs at our feeder schools. This award allowed us to go to the championship competition in St. Louis. While we did not do as well as we did at regionals, we worked constantly to improve our robot at the competition, adding both a way to remove jammed disks from our bot and a net to intercept others' shots.