Why is robotics so popular in American Education? California State University, Long Beach is a great location for a First Robotics Competition.
By Walter Martinez, Southern California Robotics Society
California State University has seen its share of robots over the years from the first television filming of Battlebots in 1999, monthly meetings by the Robotics Society of Southern California to the high energy For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology or FIRST regional competition happening this weekend of March 24-25th, 2017. High schools from all over Southern California and surrounding counties are participating.
FIRST a non-profit organization founded by inventor Dean Kamen in 1999 has expanded internationally with several thousand high schools competing. FIRST is set to reach 85,000 high school students this year.
What makes FIRST a high school level robotics competition is the competitors. The students are on fire to share stories about their teams, mentors and how they help their communities. Often awards and accolades are given not to just the best technical robot or creative algorithm, instead the winners are the teams who worked together the best, the team who makes an impact in their community and can lead the next team from their school to thrive on their legacy. Their motto “To create a world where science and technology are celebrated… where young people dream of becoming science and technology heroes” FIRST encourages professionalism and cooperation.
In this year’s games you will find the popular Steampunk theme, a genre of science fiction with lots of gears and steam engines where the new challenges arena has the neo Victorian gold, copper color tones. In this event there are mentors and sponsors from SpaceX, JPL, the Robotics Society of Southern California and many others. The Long Beach team Momentum Robotics has students from several Long Beach high schools including the Sato Academy of Mathematics and Science. The CSULB pyramid is sure to rumble this weekend with over 60 exciting teams ready to compete in this “a sport of the mind”. FIRST STEAMWORKS has a new challenging arena where students with limited resources, time and help of a mentor (mostly engineers and teachers) will get to make their robots perform solutions to problems representing real world situations. All teams use the same type of parts so creativity becomes an important part of how this students learn different engineering skills to come up with a superior design to tackle the challenges. So let the games begin!