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Blosxom

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Saturday, March 18, 2006

Photos

Healthy competition

FIRST Robotics Competition

Robots take the field Friday at the FIRST Robotics Competition Silicon Valley Regional meet at the San Jose State University Event Center. High school teams from California built robots designed to shoot balls into a goal, first autonomously and then under student control.


FIRST Robotics Competition

Zjippy, the robot from Menlo-Atherton High School, rears up on two wheels and prepares to launch balls at the goal.


Mention robots and competition in the same breath, and people’s minds immmediately jump to Battlebots or some similar deathmatch involving circular saws and such. The FIRST Robotics Competion is an entirely different animal, fueled not by bloodlust (spark-lust?) but by a desire to motivate and inspire young people. It’s run by Segway inventor Dean Kamen’s foundation, and the whole thing reminds me of the “New Games” movement of the ’70s (not that anyone, including Wikipedia, seems to remember much about New Games). The FIRST Robotics site explains it much better. I’ll just say these three things: The kids were scary smart, the spirit of the whole thing was great, and Woz was there.

FIRST Robotics Competition

Kevin Irish, a junior at Woodside High School, works on the traction system of his team’s robot in the pit area of the FIRST Robotics Competition Silicon Valley Regional meet held Friday and Saturday at the SJSU Event Center.


FIRST Robotics Competition

Emcee Mark Leon, a NASA employee and San Jose State University graduate, introduces the teams before a new round at the FIRST Robotics Competition Silicon Valley Regional meet Friday at the SJSU Event Center.


Steve Wozniak

Steve Wozniak, co-founder of Apple Computer and the Electronic Frontier Foundation, sits on the panel of judges for the FIRST Robotics Silicon Valley Regional meet held at the SJSU Event Center Friday and Saturday.