FIRST Robotics Competition
"The Varsity Sport for the Mind," the FIRST Robotics Competition (FRC) combines the excitement of sport with the rigors of science and technology. Under strict rules, limited resources, and time limits, teams of as little as 4 students to as many 25 students or more are challenged to raise funds, design a team "brand," hone teamwork skills, and build and program robots to perform prescribed tasks against a field of competitors. It's as close to "real-world engineering" as a student can get. Volunteer professional mentors lend their time and talents to guide each team. Since the start of the 2012 season, there are 2356 teams registered.
Students get to:
- Learn from professional engineers
- Build and compete with a robot of their own design
- Learn and use sophisticated software and hardware
- Compete and cooperate in alliances and tournaments
- Earn a place in the State Championship or World Championship
- Qualify for more than $14.8 million in college scholarships
Maize Craze was the game in the inaugural year, 1992, of the FIRST Robotics Competition. This game was played by four individual robots trying to collect tennis balls into their starting base. An impediment to the robots was that the entire playing field was covered in a layer of corn 1-2 inches thick.
Rug Rage was the 1993 game in which teams competed individually to score as many balls as possible in their goal. As of 2011, it is the only year to see a decrease in the number of teams competing.
The 1994 game, Tower Power, was played on a carpeted surface. Teams competed to collect and score colored soccer balls into their goal.
Ramp 'n 'Roll, from 1995, was played on a slope-shaped area. Teams competed to score different sized balls over a field goal.
Hexagon Havoc was the 1996 game for the FIRST Robotics Competition. Seeding games of 1-on-1-on-1 were played double-elimination to determine the teams for the finals rounds. In the finals, robots played 1-on-1 in a best 2 out of 3.
1997 was the first year that FRC had a regional event outside of its origins in New Hampshire; regionals were held in Chicago and New Jersey, with a championship event at Epcot. The game, Toroid Terror, was the first in which the scoring object was not a ball.
Ladder Logic, the 1998 game, was played on a carpeted, hexagon-shaped area with an 8 ft tall central goal. Balls placed on horizontal rail goals extending outward scored points.
Double Trouble, the 1999 game, was played by alliances, who scored points by positioning "floppies" and a "puck" on the playing field. Tournament play consisted of seeding and elimination rounds.
Co-Opertition FIRST was the 2000 game for the FIRST Robotics Competition. The idea of Co-opertition stems from the games scoring for the qualifying matches. The winning alliance received 3x the loser's score as their qualifying points. Thus, it was more beneficial to win a match 10-9 than 20-0.
Diabolical Dynamics, from 2001, was played with a central bridge, which can tilt to either side of the field or remain level. Robots scored into goals and then balanced those goals on to the bridge to end the match.
The 2002 game, Zone Zeal, featured robots playing in alliances of 2 competing to move goals and balls into various zones within the playing field.
In Stack Attack, from 2003, two teams of two robots each attempt to win by moving large Sterilite bins into their zone and arranging them into stacks.
FIRST Frenzy: Raising the Bar, the 2004 FRC game, included elements from previous years' games, including mobile goals and "capping" goals with large inflatable balls.
The 2005 game, Triple Play, was first FRC game to feature three robots per alliance. The game was played on a field set up like a tic-tac-toe board, with nine larger goals, shaped as tetrahedra in three rows of three.
Aim High was the 2006 game for the FIRST Robotics Competition. The competition involved teams competing to gain points by delivering balls into goals and positioning their robots in certain positions on the playing field. The teams took it in turn to provide defense and attack.
Rack 'n Roll, from the 2007 season, featured two alliances of three teams each competing to arrange toroidal game pieces on a central arena element known as 'The Rack'.
In the 2008 game, FIRST Overdrive, teams competed to complete counterclockwise laps around a central barrier while manipulating large 40 in (1 m) diameter "Trackballs" over and under overpasses to score additional points.
2009's game, Lunacy in named to honor the 40th anniversary of the first manned mission to the Moon. The game itself is played on a field material referred to as 'Regolith', which is designed so that the robots, which have special mandated wheels, have reduced traction, mimicking the effect of low gravity that would be seen by a robot driving on the moon.
In the 2010 game, Breakaway, Robots direct soccer balls into goals, traverse "bumps" in the field, suspend themselves and each other on towers at the end of each match.
Logo Motion, the 2011 game, is played using inner tube pieces shaped like the
components of the FIRST logo. The game celebrates the 20th season of FRC and commemorates the artist Jack Kamen, who designed the original FIRST logo. In the endgame, robots deploy smaller "minibots" to climb a tower.
In the 2012 game, Rebound Rumble, robots try to score as many basketballs in hoops as possible. Balls scored in higher hoops score more points. Bonus points are awarded if robots are balanced on bridges at the end of the match. In matches where opponent Alliances work together to balance on the white bridge, all participating teams earn additional valuable seeding points.
In the 2013 game, Ultimate Ascent, robots try to shoot as many discs into goals at varying heights as possible. Discs scored in narrow, high goals score more points. Bonus points are awarded if robots are able to climb to different levels on pyramids near the middle of the field. In addition, colored frisbees can be shot into a goal on top of the pyramid for 5 points each.
In the 2014 game, Aerial Assist, robots assist each other to move 24-inch game balls down the field and into low or high goals to score. The more the robots assist each other, the higher their bonus points will be.
More information about starting a FIRST Robotics team can be found at: