BEST Robotics

In FIRST, we strive to spread the knowledge of our robotics programs; That is my mission here today. I have been in FIRST Robotics for one year now, and there was no better choice I could have made, but I now wish to spread the recognition of a new program: BEST. ‘Boosting Engineering, Science, and Technology’. BEST’s game this year looks interesting, I suggest you all take a look!

http://www.bestinc.org/

Many teams here compete with more than one organization; BEST, VRC, etc. My own team has done BEST since 2009, and many of the Colorado FRC teams compete with us. I agree that this year’s game is a good one. A nice thing about BEST is that there is no cost to compete, which is a pleasant fundraising break. The games are usually overly ambitious, especially considering how slowly most of the (small) robots move. I don’t know that I’d put BEST into the same category as FRC, but it is fun and a good early season experience for our new students.

Yes, we over at CircuitRunners love BEST! Its such a fun competition; we’ve been competing since 2002. This year we just qualified for South’s BEST, looking forward to going before FRC starts up in January :smiley:

My team started competing in BEST almost a decade before we started competing in FRC, and now we actually run BEST robotics in Georgia. BEST and FIRST are two very different competitions and it’s very difficult to compare the two because BEST is based on giving everyone an even playing field and utilizing the parts you are given for detail driven challenges, while FIRST is based on working with your community to get funds and mentors and produce large robots to compete in less specific challenges. As someone who competed in BEST for 3 years and who was highly involved in running a BEST hub this year, I can say that BEST is a very challenging competition to run, because it is up to the individual hub to get funding and purchase the kits for all of the teams competing in your hub and to build the field that you have to buy and build from scratch. That being said, I think that BEST is a fantastic competition because it really challenges teams to get creative and it allows teams with small or no budgets to get involved with robotics without having to worry about all of the costs that programs such as FIRST require.

Indeed, they’re quite different. What is interesting is that they also share a common linage: Woodie Flowers. BEST was started when two TI engineers (Steve and Ted) watched videos of his design class and thought why couldn’t they do this with local high school students. It is amazing how much Woodie has inspired the world.

Scott
FRC Mentor & BEST Kit of Parts Committee Member

[quote= What is interesting is that they also share a common linage: Woodie Flowers[/QUOTE]

Wow, I didn’t know that. Awesome!![/quote]

It is awesome.

BEST Website About > History

The idea for a BEST (Boosting Engineering, Science, and Technology) competition originated in 1993 when two Texas Instruments (TI) engineers, Ted Mahler and Steve Marum, were serving as guides for Engineering Day at their company site in Sherman. Together with a group of high school students, they watched a video of freshmen building a robot in Woodie Flowers’ class at Massachusetts Institute of Technology. The high school students were so interested that Ted and Steve said, “Why don’t we do this?”

Emphasis mine.

Steve is still very active in many aspects of BEST, including the Kit Committee which is how I met him.

That is very cool! The one thing that I would like to see more of in BEST is having some of the people who run BEST at the national level more involved in the individual hubs. This year was the first time my team ran the Georgia hub and the only interaction we really had with the heads of BEST was them approving and signing some applications and forms for us. To be honest, I wouldn’t be able to tell you anything about the founders or the individuals currently running BEST, while I could tell you plenty about people in FIRST like Dean, Woodie, and Don.