It is that time of year again: Robot Christmas! FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) has released the FRC (FIRST Robotics Competition) 2016 Game: STRONGHOLD.
The FIRST Robotics Competition is an international competition that pairs high school students with STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) professionals in their community. Each school year (in January) students receive a new game and are given six weeks to design, build, and test a semi-autonomous robot that can complete the tasks in the game. Although teams are given a kit of parts (which includes motors, pneumatics, controllers, etc.) they are free to design and build whatever they can imagine within size, weight, and budget restraints set by the competition. These robots, which can weigh up to 120 pounds and stand over 5 feet tall, compete against other student-built robots at regional and national events around the world.
Here at denkbots, several of our team members are FIRST mentors and alumni. As another way to give back, we are going to share our knowledge via a “Conceptual Robot in Three Days” or cRi3D, based on the popular Robot in Three Days project. We are going to do three segments to explain our approach to brainstorming and product design, in hopes that other teachers and mentors who might not be familiar with this approach may adapt and employ it to broaden their students’ horizons.
The three segments will be:
These three segments will culminate in The Reveal of our cRi3D!
As always, our goal is not to give the answer; it is to teach the process. We hope these articles will expose you to some new techniques and help those new mentors who can find the start of a new season a little bit overwhelming. Please feel free to join the conversation on our Facebook or Twitter with your questions, thoughts, and feedback on these articles!
NOTE: Before starting, we want to emphasize to students AND mentors, that the most critical thing you must do when approaching a new FIRST game is to fully read and understand THE GAME MANUAL! Without a thorough understanding of the rules your brainstorming and design phase will be plagued with dead-ends, confusion, and a lot of wasted time. Many mentors even create tests on the rules for their students that are a prerequisite for travel to competition.