This year I had the chance to be a judge for CRC robotics, a non-profit organization that holds competitions between different High Schools and CEGEP’s in Canada every year since 2001. What started in 2001 as a small and local robotic competition became a countrywide event between schools from coast to coast.
RobotShop became a sponsor for this competition, each year we send one of our technicians to help and participate in a panel of juries. The jury is composed of two teams of five professionals from different companies. One team has to judge the quality of the construction while the other team has to focus on the conception and originality of the design. I was part of the latter.
This year's competition was Vertigoal, the objective was to build a robot that could pick up tennis balls and shoot them in baskets to gain points.
It was surprisingly well organized, every team had their own “pit” or “kiosk” where they could repair and modify their robot, I was really impressed, not just by the robots that they built, but by the effort that they had put in the design of the kiosk.
I managed to shoot a few parts of that event with my smartphone and we made a small compilation of it (excuse my shaky hands). I really suggest you go to their website and YouTube page to find out more about the past and upcoming events (and see a few video compilations of these events).
A few days later, the FIRST Robotics Competition was also held and a few coworkers went to the event (read about their experience). This competition was held at the Olympic Stadium in Montreal and some of the teams were from different countries. Two robotics competitions were held in the same month, I went to both, and I noticed a few things in each competition:
Microcontrollers are widely available and much cheaper than what they were just a few years ago. You can easily find tutorials and information thanks to YouTube and all the online resources available (shoutout to the RobotShop Community !). It is becoming more prevalent in schools, as part of the curriculum or as an extracurricular activity. I can't wait to see what these competitions will be like in the next few years.