My wife, some friends, and I attended the final rounds for the regional competition of the FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) robotics competition at UC Davis. Autodesk has been following FIRST since we became a sponsor and even has exhibited a robot from Gunn High School (Palo Alto, CA) in our One Market Gallery.
Whereas the Gunn High School robot's assignment (from a competition years ago) was to stack more boxes than its opponent, this year's competition was called LOGO MOTION™. Robots created by high school teams were grouped into two alliances - the red alliance and the blue alliance - each consisting of 3 robots. The robots worked together to outdo the other alliance.
||Each robot tried to hang as many inflated plastic shapes (triangles, circles, squares) in 2 minutes and 15 seconds. The higher the teams hung their pieces on their scoring poles (3 sets of rungs), the more points they earned for their alliance.|
An interesting kicker to all this is that during the first 15 seconds of each match, the robots were autonomous in that they operated by themselves. It was quite common to see a robot pick up a game piece and hang it on the highest rung all on its own. After that, the robots were operated remotely by human operators.
|Extra points were awarded if pieces were hung to form the FIRST logo.||
During the final seconds of each match, the main robots would deploy a "mini-bot" on to vertical poles. The first minibot to race to the top earned extra points for the alliance.
The alliance with the higher score won the match - best 2 out of 3 matches allowed an alliance to advance to the next round. It was very much like a sporting event with sections of the crowd dressed in team colors with organized cheering included. Robots were prepared for battle in a pit area:
In addition to being a sponsor, Autodesk awarded a special prize for design excellence.
Autodesk Chief Education Officer, Joe Astroth, announced the winner. Congratulations to Buchanan High School from Clovis, California who earned this award for their animated film.
In addition to a nice trophy for the team, each member won an iPad 2 loaded with software. Joe asked that we not tell CEO, Carl Bass, who had not been informed of Joe's on the spot generosity.
Saturday was as fun to watch as any traditional sporting event. Our Logo Motion winners were:
- Da Vinci Charter Academy from Davis, California
- Girl Scouts of Northern California from Moffett Field, California
- Menlo-Atherton High School from Atherton, California
I was proud to see Autodesk be a part of it.
Olympics of the mind are alive in the lab.