I just attended the FIRST Robotics competition, Hawaii Regional. This is one heckuva show. Student built robots running around at competition floor, a few seconds running off of autonomous programs and about two minutes on remote control. The goal was to grab one of these big exercise balls with the robot and run it round the competition floor, and then launch it over a hurdle. Punahou is team 2090 (not sure if you can see them in this photo, but their robot is the one with the big blue ball on the left side of the photo).
If you have kids interested in computers, science, or engineering I would say that this is something you want to get involved with. More text and photos below the fold.
BAE systems, HECO, and many other sponsors were there along with Gov. Lingle and Lt. Gov. Aiona. To their credit, both stayed at the competition THE ENTIRE DAY. Teams as far away as Florida (with their NASA mentors), California, West Virgina, along with many from the Neighbor islands were there.
The robots were all student built, each with their own design. They have to meet certain size/weight restrictions and a few other rules. But other than that, the students are free to design what they think will work.
The atmosphere is carnival like, and it is really great to see the science & technology kids competing with each other.
Oh…if I have this right, Punahou made it to the quarter finals at the Hawaii Regionals.