robhogg.com » High-school robot is a winner

High-school robot is a winner

980_robot_judges_compressed.JPGTeam 980, the Thunderbots have finished building their new 130 pound, two-speed, lean machine!

To catch you up on this one: an international high-school robotics competition is well underway for the 16th year, and the number of teams participating has roughly doubled every year. FIRST Robotics (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) was started by Dean Kamen (inventor of the Segway) as a way of inspiring high-school kids (and adults!) with real application of science and technology to something that everyone wants to do – build a robot!

These beasts weigh 130 pounds and are about 3x3x5 feet. They move, and they move fast, and they do all kinds of other tricks depending on what the game is for the year. The build season starts in January every year and for exactly six weeks each team of students, mentors, teachers, parents, and team fans all get together and figure out how to play the game and how to make their robot the coolest bucket of bolts that ever rolled the earth.

I had the pleasure of founding Team 980 with my father and some other engineers and it is still going strong, with the team’s seventh robot recently completed and shipped to the first competition.

In the next few weeks the team will be participating in regional events at major arenas in three different cities. Think of a basketball game, cheering fans and loud music and all, except the students get to take turns competing down on the floor!

For more info on this all-around incredible experience and to follow Team 980 on their run for the title, check out:
Team 980 Homepage
2008 Game Animation
FIRST Homepage