Monday, April 7, 2008

Israeli Robotic Teams Arrive This Week

My family is hosting 2 boys from the Israeli teams that will be arriving this week in order to compete in The Trinity College Fire Fighting Robotics competition.

It should be another fun adventure sharing our home with these outstanding students. We have been hosting for at least the past 5 years now and my kids have really enjoyed the experiences of meeting these wonderful and talented teens. For most of them, this is a terrific opportunity to travel to the US and stay with families while competing. We do try to keep in touch with them after they leave. Because of compulsory service, many of them go on to serve in their country's military after they return home and finish their high school exams.

With regard to the competition (which is open to the public):
The main challenge of this contest is to build an autonomous computer-controlled robot that can find its way through an arena that represents a model house, find a lit candle that represents a fire in the house, and extinguish the fire in the shortest time. This task simulates the real-world operation of an autonomous robot performing a fire protection function in a real house. The goal of the contest is to advance robot technology and knowledge while using robotics as an educational tool.

The goal of the contest is to make a robot that can operate successfully in the real world, not just in the laboratory. Such a robot must be able to operate successfully where there is uncertainty and imprecision.
If you get the opportunity you should visit the competition. It is really interesting to watch the various methods used to solve the problems of navigating the mazes and accomplishing their ultimate goal of extinguishing the fire.

The Israeli high school teams have a history of dominating the competition. The teams from US colleges also do quite well.

Rules of the contest are here.

See last year's post about the competition.