It’s that time of year again – the First Robotics Competition has begun. This exciting competition pits teams of 25 or more high school students against each other in a bid to build robotics to the highest standard. The competition is as close to real world engineering as high school students can get, and students qualify for over $25 million in college scholarships. It features over 73,000 students in nearly 3,000 teams from all across the globe.
The First Robotics Competition challenges students to prove they have what it takes across a range of disciplines, and accurately mirrors real world engineering practices and challenges. The competition element makes robotics and engineering fun and exciting, and motivates students to work together to overcome some of the tough real world trials that engineers face, all with the support of professional engineers.
This year, the mandatory controller is the National Instruments roboRIO. It’s an all-new controller that’s lighter, more powerful and more versatile than anything the First Robotics Competition has seen before. Supporting the LabView operating system, it uses the Xilinx Zynq chipset and is designed to be extra-rugged so that it can withstand multiple First Robotics Competition seasons.
Programming the roboRIO is an excellent way to begin using LabView, the industry standard system design and development environment used extensively for instrument control, data acquisition and industrial automation in engineering. The gamut of projects used by engineers on a daily basis with LabView run from rapid prototyping up to large-scale projects such as Space-X mission control and the CERN Large Hadron Collider.
For those new to the roboRIO or LabView, we’ve put together a handy tutorial to the controller which we’re giving away free to all those interested in the First Robotics Competition. This short course provides an introduction to the roboRIO and programming it with LabView.
You can access this FREE introductory course right here: http://first.intelitek.com/