Fun Wild Idea: Corporate Sponsors Build & Compete!

We were throwing around an idea about how to companies might get more engaged in FRC. We thought that FIRST could invite a half dozen sponsoring companies such as Boeing, Lockheed, Northrup, GM, Ford and Chrysler to each meet the game challenge, build a robot in 6 weeks and then compete in a special match on Einstein. It might generate a buzz about the competition and more actively engage the companies in FIRST.

We didn’t get into the specifics of logistics etc other than there should be a budget limit, e.g., $10k each. We’re more interested in first impressions about the idea before going off into the particulars about how it would work.

I like it. With the right sponsors on board, I could image some very inspirational robots.

That would be very interesting, and the enthusiam would be there when pitching it. But people would have to take time and money to design them, unless it’s voluntary. If Mr. Kamen ever got on this, it could be pitched as positive media for FIRST and for the companies involved.

Sounds like a cool idea!
I just want to point out that the rest of us are already held to a budget limit of $4,000, why not use the same limit/same rest of the robot rules?

(inb4 RI3D debate)

They might have to pay for machining and other costs we don’t usually include.
Plus, with more cash, they can make way cooler robots.

How about including a celebrity team? I’d like to see what Will-i-am and the Black Eyed Peas come up with. Or a team from Mythbusters…

I don’t want our primary sources of mentors to focus on corporate promotion to the detriment of helping students, so I don’t like the idea. The resources have to be taken from somewhere, and it would probably come out of time spent with students. That said, getting it into the hands of the Discovery channel might be a great idea.

With a few edits, this idea is remarkably similar to one that a guy in Manchester NH had circa 1989. Through creativity and persistence, he was able to get it off the ground in 1992, and after that the thing just exploded.

I like that idea - Big Bang Theory vs Mythbusters!

I would hope that limiting it to just a half dozen firms, and then small build teams, wouldn’t divert resources, and the publicity would more than offset the loss of resources in the near term.

I don’t think that would be a very fair competition.

There was a local soap box derby type race held up until 2001 here in the Bay Area as a fundraiser for a nonprofit that featured something similar. They had a high school division and a corporate division. Most of the local FRC teams competed in it. Compaq, Hitachi, HP, KPCB, Sun, and pretty much every other influential tech/VC company in Silicon Valley participated.

The lengths that the corporate teams went to to outdo each other were pretty ridiculous. They had teams of engineers working on them full time, some did wind tunnel testing, one had 2 members of the US Olympic bobsled team as their pushers at the beginning. I can’t even imagine how much money they spent each year.

This is basically every mentors dream job… I’d love to take a few months off my regular job to be able to actually design and build a robot of my own :slight_smile:

I would be willing to throw down the gauntlet to my sponsors.

But I think 6 weeks is too generous. I think a time frame of around 1 week would be suffice…

You seem to think that every engineer that a company (GM, lockheed, boeing) would put on their design team would be someone who’s already mentoring a FIRST team. That’s certainly not the case. All of these companies have plenty of employees to spare to put on a team for a month to design a robot, no teams is going to lose any mentors to the “pro teams”.

Just an aside, but discovery channel associates have gone the way of TLC, they hardly do any educational programming anymore (let alone anything worth watching). Celebrity casts would be a disaster too, unless those celebrities happened to be trained engineers/programmers. I guarantee you the cast of big bang theory could not build a robot.

But they can drive one at least as well as some teams!

I propose calling this outlandish idea the “FIRST Robotics Competition”.

Is that a game hint?

I see what you did there…

How about myth busters mentoring a few companies build teams? Say Orange County choppers vs Paul jr designs vs Jesse James.

None of them have robot experience, but all have fabrication experience. Would be fun to see them out of their comfort zones. Plus they all have discovery channel ties so could be a great boost to first with the tv coverage. The unveil could be at champs.