For 30 years, FIRST® (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology), the grandest gathering for global teenager robot competitors in April, has inspired millions of young people to reach new heights.
Last week, more than 70,000 students, coaches, judges, leaders and innovators from technology arena around the world traveled to Houston, putting their innovation skills to the test at the annual FIRST Championship Presented by Qualcomm Incorporated, held at the George R. Brown Convention Center, Minute Maid Park and Discovery Green.
The six-day Houston event, attended by 1400 teams selected from more than 70 countries came down to a heart-pounding conclusion Saturday night in front of thousands of cheering fans when teams competed in match finals for the world championships.
Among these highly selective participants, Action, Matthew, Malvin, Daniel and Johnson, 5 top players of of Mr. Robot team from the first robotic club of Nord Anglia Chinese International School Shanghai, gets invited to attend this annual feast due to their excellent performance in the past gaming seasons. Together with other dozen-plus Chinese teams for the 4 game categories (Jr. Fll, Fll, Ftc, Frc), they represented the highest team level of robotic capabilities to fight on behalf of China.
As a young team, we were almost overwhelmed by pressure as soon as stepped into the match field, seeing all the very strong top teams from different countries and U.S. provinces.
After intense brainstorm, procurement and construction, our team tent based on the concept of "information technology revolution" finally rose from scratch from the ground! All our decorative materials are made of fish wires and our robot’s spare parts - The inspection accessories, protective tools and tools that we carry with the robot are hung up one by one to make the curtain of our base tent. The effect is actually quite good!
During the scrimmage practice match round, half of the 3D printed front claw of our robot collapsed due to the collision in the transportation and the pressure on the site. Call for emergency repair!
Mathew from the mechanic team would rather replace the claw with his own hands… lucky enough for us that he and the other few team members figured out a new way to fix it, and he nailed it down.
At intervals, each team's outreaching department was super active, teams from all over the world communicated with each other to understand the feature of each robot in order for the alliance building for the combat, at the same time we exchanged team emblem to build transnational cross-language trust and friendship.
After the continuous wheel war, our score finally freezes in the middle of the division ranking.
This year also saw the most Chinese teams got invited, each showing different strengths and characteristics and performed well. In addition, one of the senior Chinese FRC teams from Nanjing made it into the global championship final match, for the first time in 30 years in the China youth robotic history. The FIRST committee decided to raise the five-star red national flag for all Chinese teams, along with the familiar melody of National anthem to recognize this amazing year for the players from China, also the committee invited one of the jr. fll game’s youngest Chinese team’s youngest primary school players from Beijing to present and symbolize the country’s great future in the center of the robot match field, and to celebrate the China team’s new breakthrough this year. Every Chinese on the spot was filled with proud!
The six-day trip soon came to the end, just like the slogan printed in the name card of one teams - “WINNING IS TEMPORARY, LEARNING IS FOREVER.” As Woody Flowers, world ambassador of FIRST, addressed FIRST supporters: “Throughout each of our four programs, FIRST teams get hands-on experience with modern engineering equipment and technologies, but they also take on public speaking, leadership, problem-solving and collaboration challenges that build core skills and confidence. Thanks to all of you, FIRST is providing a transformative experience for our young people across all population groups. First build the next generation innovators.”