Machine Design

FIRST Robotics Competition shifts Into Overdrive

At the kickoff of this year’s FIRST Robotics Competition (FRC), more than 1,500 teams, each consisting of 10 to 20 high-school students and a few engineering mentors, received a common kit of parts.

Teams have six weeks to use the kits to design and build robots to compete in this year’s challenge, dubbed FIRST Overdrive. Forty-one regional competitions will lead to the FRC Championship at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta, April 17 to 19.

Teams are judged not on final score, but on overall performance, including problem solving, innovation, teamwork, community engagement, and fostering greater levels of respect and honor for science and technology.

More than 37,500 high-school students will participate, along with 21,000 mentors, 6,300 volunteers, and more than 2,500 sponsors. Participating students can apply for more than $9.5 million in scholarships.

FIRST was founded by Dean Kamen, inventor of the Segway Human Transporter.

DualVee Guide Wheels from longtime sponsor Bishop-Wisecarver Corp., Pittsburg, Calif., (top) are again part of the parts kit for contestants this year. Shown here is a regional competition in San Jose, Calif.


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