Montreal's Robotics Festival 2019: Space Edition

The first thing we felt when entering the preparation area was the tension each team seemed to be experiencing. They were all there, in front of their robots, making the last adjustments. We watched their meticulous work from afar, not wanting to get in their way.

FIRST Robotics Event entrance

2019 FIRST Robotics Competition 

This year, the competition's theme was  "Destination: Deep Space": each team had to load balls into their respective spaceships. Under the tutelage of their mentors, participants had to design an industrial-sized robot that could move in the arena and carry both airlocks & equipment. To help you understand better, here is the official game animation: 

List of rules: FIRST Robotics Competition - Destination: Deep Space Game Manual


We had the impression that there was a substantial gap in school budgets. As a result, we attended competitions during which some robots had an obvious advantage, which certainly could have discouraged some teams. Since registration alone costs $ 3,000, we thought there may be little money left for the robot's construction. However, most schools seemed to have built a robot that lived up to their expectations.

Last minute tweaks
One of the most impressive robots, using an elevator to move the ball

A good way to make the experience more equitable and enjoyable for kids could be to limit the budget and provenance of the parts.

Special Guests

We also had the chance to meet many robotics enthusiasts from Quebec universities. Members of ÉTS university student clubs shared their passion with us by presenting their amazing projects. You can take a look at their project which is published in the Robots Section of our community platform, S.A.R.A. the robot.

S.A.R.A. the robot

Visitors were surely amazed by robots that automate simple tasks, such as making coffee

When you're too tired to make coffee!!

Some organizations also made special appearances, such as the Canadian Space Agency. The International Space Station was developed by several nations, which collaborated and shared ressources,  following a unique purpose: Space Exploration. Their presence was a beautiful metaphor of team spirit as this competition was a great example of how common effort can make us achieve great things. We can certainly draw a parallel with FIRST teams as they were working together, groups, teachers, and mentors, to conceive their bots.

High voltage power line rover
Pratt and Whitney plane turbine

Putting Robotics ''FIRST'' In Tomorrow's Schools

Robotics is an important subject often left aside because of its complexity and monetary investment. As technology is becoming more and more affordable, we believe that robots and electronics will eventually be taught at an earlier age.

pjutras playing on an arcade made with Robotshop's parts!

We felt a certain sense of pride when contestants told us that some of their parts came from and we feel like we're making a positive contribution to these students' future.

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