On January 4th, I attended the FIRST (For Inspiring & Recognition of Science & Technology) 2020 Kickoff event in Manchester, NH where students, teachers and mentors from around the world were excited to see what the new game competition format and objectives were all about. This year FIRST is teaming up with Disney and Lucasfilm as part of the Star Wars: Force for Change initiative – FIRST RISE.
The competition game theme is “Infinite Recharge”, where FIRST City is being bombarded by asteroids.
By using alliance droids (remotely controlled robots created by students), planetary citizens collect and store POWER CELLS while traversing the trench run and boundary to ensure maximum protection with an operational SHIELD GENERATOR.
When competition starts, planetary citizens enable autonomous operation (hands-free with no remote control) of their droids. The preprogrammed robots have 15 seconds to score points by delivering three POWER CELLS to the POWER PORTS (shown below). POWER CELLS are small, 7-inch perma-skin foam yellow balls that are projected, slung, or shot into various POWER PORTS to earn points.
(Images sourced from: John LeDuc [left] and youtube.com [right])
The more POWER CELLS deposited, more energy will be stored to enable the SHIELD GENERATOR (which protects FIRST City from incoming asteroids) and the more points are earned.
After autonomous mode is finished, student drivers (planetary citizens) will have 2 minutes and 15 seconds to get a certain number of their POWER CELLS into the POWER PORTS in 3 stages to fully activate the SHIELD GENERATOR. Rotation control of the CONTROL PANEL (shown below) is used to turn on Stage 2 by rotating the color disk a certain number of times and Stage 3 by rotating to a specific color. (See this link for more details.)
(Image source: youtube.com)
Next, the robots move over to the GENERATOR SWITCH (what looks like an inverted teeter-totter pendulum) and attach or hang from the switch or level balance with an alliance partner to earn additional points to win the match (shown below).
(Image source: youtube.com)
For more information about the details of this year’s competition, visit the following link:
Being present at the kickoff event and experiencing the high energy expressed by all the speakers, students and mentors was tremendously rewarding!!
(Images sourced from: John LeDuc)
Today in our world, we are depleting our resources as our population grows and expands. To help make our world better, we need to make changes in how we do things in the future. It’s the teachers, mentors, engineers and others that help to inspire the aptitude for making the innovation and technology advancements with our students that can help change our world and create a better way of living. The Star Wars Force for Change initiative - FIRST RISE is meant to inspire everyone to think outside the box, dig in with great effort, take chances, follow through innovating, and try new ideas (learn more at this video link). Dean Kamen has helped inspire the development and creative imaginations of our young people through FIRST Robotics competition programs. FIRST is one of the greatest initiatives ever created to help inspire STEM for our future technologists, teachers, scientists, and engineers to improve the world.
(Image source: John LeDuc)
Digi-Key is a huge supporter of FIRST Robotics competitions and we want all viewers/students to take advantage of our complementary $50 voucher for this year’s event. Feel free to check out all the parts listed here or click on this link for more details.