It was unusual for the Ambler, PA Wissahickon team to make the trip to the Western Regional. But, there were also teams from Indiana, Colorado and even Brazil. That is just one of the things that makes a FIRST competition so much fun — the flixability to let kids try something different.
This year’s competitive season is based on robots competing in conditions that mimic the moon. Every year on New Years Day weekend, the FIRST orginization releases that season’s rules and regulations. NASA helps design, orginize and officiate. For this season, the floor surface and robot parts are designed to simulate 1/6 the gravity of Earth. Cleverly, the competition is called Lunacy. Normally the robots are not allowed to smash into each other. Not this year. For this season, that rule had to be relaxed due to the lack of friction. It is inevitable that the robots will collide in a crash-up-derby fashion.
The object of the game is scoop up “moon” balls and shoot them into a goal. The goal is actually a trailer being hauled behind the oppositions robot. During the preliminaries, three high schools are randomly paired to form an alliance against three opposing schools.
The schools were given a six week build season. Then, their robots are crated and shipped to the competition location. The students do not get to see their robots until they arrive at the regionals. On the first day, teams are allowed to unpack their robots and conduct practice rounds.
video: robot up-close