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Build Winning FIRST Robots

FIRST Robots: Behind the Design

by Vince Wilczynski and Stephanie Slezycki;  foreword by Dean Kamen; afterword by Woodie Flowers

Rockport Publishers

Design and build a 100-pound robot to play in a three-on-three game of hoops. Your robot must be robust enough to play in many rounds and take the abuse of collisions with other robots and the arena. Your robot must be safe. You can only use the motors you are given. Your team consists of high school students and a few adult mentors. You have a limited budget. You have six weeks. Go!

Over 1,000 high school teams from around the world took on this “Aim High” challenge in the 2006 FIRST Robotics Competition and succeeded in fielding robots. That, by itself, is amazing. Of those, 30 truly remarkable robots and the teams that created them are profiled in this picture-rich edition. This wonderful book examines the 2006 FIRST challenge, the problems that needed to be solved, the design of these award-winning robots, the teams that created them and the processes the teams employed.

FIRST Robots also includes a foreword by FIRST creator Dean Kamen that explains the motivation for FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology), a detailed description of the “Aim High” challenge, an examination of the FIRST Kit of Parts, and an afterword by MIT professor Woodie Flowers. It is beautifully illustrated with hundreds of photos, CAD drawings and 3D model renderings. If there’s anything I could ask for, it would be more: more robots, more teams, more photos, more drawings, more details and more problems and their solutions.

As the first book of its kind, FIRST Robots will be a godsend to the many rookies, mentors, and teams trying to reach the next level. I wish I had it four years ago when I started mentoring FIRST teams. It will undoubtedly become a must-have in the library of FIRST teams around the world. It is also a great read for people on the outside to introduce them to the fantastic world of FIRST and inspire them to participate.

Available from for $30.39