Give us anything that blinks, beeps, whirrs and does seriously cool stuff and we’re happy. Unfortunately, in today’s technology-centered world, filled with gadgets, fans and little lights, that one last condition is very seldom met.
For this reason, and for many others, we are happy to once again to help sponsor the FIRST Robotics Competition, the ultimate varsity sport for the mind. This year – it’s the seventeenth edition – over 37,500 high school students from around the world will hone their aptitudes in a game called “Overdrive.”
The aim? Officially, build a robot capable of performing pretty complex actions – details on the US FIRST web site – and putting all these math, science and analytical skills to good use. Beyond that, it’s all about getting ready for life. The competition mimics the real world in many aspects, from team work to strict timelines. It’s also a great way to get a glimpse at what engineers and scientists actually do, in a way that makes practical sense from start to finish.
Why would we invest in such an event? Not for money, certainly. By helping the high schools students of today, we aim to show them it is possible to build a successful, personally fulfilling career in engineering. There is no better feeling than being able to change the world that surrounds us, even just a tiny little bit, and it’s what creative engineering is all about.
Helping teams as they build their robots is also a great way for us to keep our wits sharp and flexible. Networking is our game, so robot-building comes as a refreshing change. It’s also a constant reminder that a true team is worth lots more than the sum of its parts – a bit cliche, maybe, but oh-so-true.
If you feel like this is a cause you’d like to join, you are in luck. US FIRST is looking for support and assistance and you too can make a difference in your area. Go to http://www.usfirst.org/involved/ to get all the details and let your school or kids know about it.
Speaking of schools, if you represent one and want to gain more insights on the competition and what it entails, feel free to get in touch at jeremy [at] dyndns [dot] com. We’d be happy to share experiences and compare notes.