Is this BattleBots?

No. As cool as BattleBots is, this is high school robotics. No weapons are allowed in this competition, and a major focus of FIRST is on safety. Instead, robots are designed to compete cooperatively in annual challenges like FIRST Robotics Competition (FRC). FIRST aims to inspire students to learn skills in STEM while fostering teamwork, problem-solving skills, and creativity.

What do you do in FRC?

Each year, a new set of competition rules is released on the first weekend of January. The team plans, designs, builds, and tests a robot over the course of six weeks. This process incorporates numerous engineering and business principles such as programming, design/CAD, machining, team-building, and PR/outreach. Then, the robot is brought to various competitions. On our team, the robot is also brought to non-competitive events like parades or fairs in order to spread awareness.

Do I need experience to do robotics?

Absolutely not! All you need to get into robotics is an interest in math, science, or engineering - plus the willingness to learn about robots. Many people do not start robotics until high school, but end up loving it and learning plenty of skills along the way. If you would like to join us here at Armor Robotics, please email us at robotics@riordanhs.org.

What does the robot do?

Since the game changes from year to year, we build and design the robot in a way that will fit the new criteria and constraints. Generally, the robot is able to drive around at different speeds and manipulate game pieces like cubes or cones.

How much of a commitment is robotics?

Robotics is the closest thing to a sport without being a traditional "sport," especially when it comes to commitment. Just like you would practice a ton for games and tournaments in a sport, robotics requires a hefty time commitment during the winter and spring (multiple times a week, sometimes weekends), which is the main season. This is when the team travels to competitions. However, the team also goes to events and meets often during the spring and fall. 

What are competitions like?

Competitions are lively and intense. Depending on the particular event, there can be dozens to hundreds of teams competing. Matches comprise of two alliances of three teams. Additionally, there is a multitude of awards that can be earned. For example, a Safety Award is given to the team considered the safest at an event. These competitions usually last 3 days and can be far away. Teams will often stay in hotels, eat, and socialize together.