FIRST Robotics Competition
FRC is a FIRST program for high schoolers to get them prepared for real-world engineering. Participants use many different types of material that is used in the real world. Unlike FTC and VEX, the robots they build can be as much as 120 lbs and is much more complex than the smaller robots. These FRC behemoths can also use cameras and can be only built within six weeks. Then they are packed up and sealed until competition. High school students, up to 50 on a team, interact with professional engineers and competed for college scholarships, all through using college and pro level hardware and software.
FRC is a competition that combines technology and sports. The technology aspect being the construction and use of robots. The robots must compete in a sport-type game every year against and with other teams because the completion is between alliances of teams and not individual teams. This type of theme challenges teams not only in design and fabrication, but also strategy and along the way
promotes sportsmanship. The underlying spirit of the competition is always "Gracious Professionalism"
The first FRC game was held in 1992 in Manchester, New Hampshire which was Maize Craze. This game was much different than compared to the most recent challenges. The game was played on a table, and had four robots collecting tennis balls to a starting base. Plus, the floor was made of corn (hence, Maize Craze was the title)!
Gradually, robots and the playing fields grew in size over time. In recent years, robots are now at human heights and play on fields larger than table tops. The organization has grown in size through awareness too! In 1992, only 28 teams existed and the championship was in Manchester Memorial High School’s gymnasium. As of 2007, there are 1307 teams, 37 regionals across the country, and championships have been held at Epcot, Houston, and Atlanta. There are even teams across the globe in countries including Israel, Brazil, Canada, Mexico, the United Kingdom, and the Netherlands.
The awards are not limited to the field of play. FIRST recognizes that so much effort goes into Robotics that many prestigious awards have been set up in different areas. Awards such as Chairman’s or Regional Finalist are always coveted by every team. Other awards, such as Industrial Design, Judge’s, and Motorola Quality, just to name a few, are also nice to have. Even a fairly new team to FIRST have much to shoot for and don't need to be discouraged if a win in the field of play seems elusive.