College level FIRST Robotics Competition

Posted by Chris at 04/09/2001 9:35 PM EST

Student on team #610, Coyotes, from Crescent School.

What would people think of FIRST introducing a College/University level competition for undergraduates similar to the highschool one but more complex with even tougher problems. Maybe even with direct real life applications…

Imagine the possibilities for solving real problems…

Posted by Matt Leese at 04/09/2001 10:26 PM EST

Other on team #73, Tigerbolt, from Edison Technical HS and Alstom & Fiber Technologies & RIT.

In Reply to: College level FIRST Robotics Competition
Posted by Chris on 04/09/2001 9:35 PM EST:

It’s a nice idea but I don’t think it’ll ever work. Frankly, I don’t know much I could deal with something harder than FIRST (it gets harder?!). Being in college, I find FIRST plenty challenging still. Also, there are many engineering competitions for college students such as Formula 1, Solar Car, and Moon Buggy (even if they tend to be more automotive based – or that may just be RIT). Also, FIRST is about pairing students and mentors – a college level competition is going to be much harder pressed to find the mentors (professors? engineers? half the students qualify for engineer). I also think that it will never happen because Dean wants to see college teams (which are a good idea) so will never create something to distract from that.

Matt who’s proud to be a FIRST-a-holic in College

Posted by ChrisH at 04/10/2001 11:15 AM EST

Engineer on team #330, Beach 'Bots, from Hope Chapel Academy and NASA JPL, J & F Machine, Raytheon, et al.

In Reply to: College level FIRST Robotics Competition
Posted by Chris on 04/09/2001 9:35 PM EST:

One of the reasons I’m involved with FIRST is that it is in many ways similar to the college competitions.

The SME Mini-Baja was the high point of my engineering education. It taught me many things that you don’t learn in class. Things like how to work with people you don’t particularly like, and what you do when somebody doesn’t deliver critical stuff (like your suspension design).

But I also got Dean’s point that you guys are making you career decisions in High School and it’s really hard to get people to understand what an engineer does. Actually I think the best TV program at that is Junkyard Wars. But at that time it was far in the future.

The College level competitions are more focused. They are planned to require a much higher level of student technical involvement. How many of you students have done a simple structural analysis of your robot arm? Or even figured out the proper gear ratio to make a motor do a given function? In most cases, you don’t have the technical background to do so. That’s where we engineers come in.

The collge competitions are designed to help you exercise the technical background you have recieved. And there is little professorial involvement. At least at my school. They waited for us to ask how to figure something out, rather than doing it for us. If we were lucky they’d point us to a grad student working in that area for help. Otherwise they’d suggest some library books to work from. That was it. Unless maybe they saw that something dangerous was about to happen.

I would suggest working on a team for some other existing competition. You need to exercise your talents in unfamiliar ways. The restrictions will be different for a model airplane or human powered vehicle than for a robot, but you need to experience those too.

Chris Husmann, PE
Team 330 the BeachBots
Who thinks that an ideal mechanical engineering curiculum would be designing and building a set of devices to solve assigned problems. With proper documentaion of course.

Posted by Chris Hibner at 04/11/2001 10:07 AM EST

Coach on team #308, Walled Lake Monster, from Walled Lake Schools and TRW Automotive Electronics.

In Reply to: College level FIRST Robotics Competition
Posted by Chris on 04/09/2001 9:35 PM EST:

Forget about college level, how about professional level! That would be great! Could you imagine the games!?!