FIRST Robotics Gives Us Hope In The Next Generation Of Hackers

A top scoring team in FIRST Robotics shows off just what some high-school students are capable of. Called the Simbot SideSwipe, their 2015 robot is a slick piece of mechatronic genius, which according to our tipster was built in just six weeks by the students.

The robot is essentially a remote controlled palletizing forklift, capable of collecting and stacking six recycling totes, and a green bin. It’s an impressive combination of mechanical control and fabrication — though it is worth noting, these bots are remote controlled — not autonomous.

To encourage learning, the team has posted their engineering report, and even the CAD model online.¬†They obviously had quite a bit of funding judging by their component selection, but regardless, we’re seriously impressed with both the design and execution of manufacturing their robot — especially if it was really built in just six weeks. Just take a look at the following videos:

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Mbed Robo-Rover

There are a ton of rapid prototyping available on the market these days which all cater to different niches. Todays project, a robotic rover on a 4 wheel chassis, is based on the NXP mbed. The mbed is a popular board for higher need applications, and is centered around an ARM Cortex core.

This multi-part writeup is a great place to start for people who are looking into making a robot of any kind. [Aaron] explains a lot of important concepts that are often overlooked by novices of robot building, including the importance of movement feedback such as quadrature encoders, as well as the usefulness of Inertial Measurement Units (IMUs) to maintain bearing and terrain awareness. This project is nearing completion, and promises to deliver essential material such as source code, a bill of materials, and the robot in action.

This could also be a valuable tool for any FIRST teams looking to understand some of the necessary ideas in creating a robot. Are there any Hackaday readers out there participating in or mentoring a FIRST (or any other robotic competition) team? We would love to hear from you!

(the) FIRST Robotics Competition

What weighs 120 pounds, can fly at you near 20mph, score soccer balls, climb 90inch tall towers and more all while remotely controlled? If you said a robot from this years FIRST, For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology, competition congrats you’ve won one internet.

This past Thursday, Friday, and Saturday (March 25-27 respectively) the Oklahoma FIRST regional competition took place. Once again I, HaD writer [Jakob] was lucky enough to not only attend, but compete! Check out our full breakdown after the jump. Continue reading “(the) FIRST Robotics Competition”