This year, FIRST is starting a new event called FIRST Global and the QLA Pineapples have been honored with an invitation to represent Australia! FIRST Global is, in many ways, unlike any other FIRST event. For starters, one team from each country is invited to attend and there has currently been 164 teams accept their invitation. The range of countries attending the event is huge with countries ranging from the USA and Japan to Iraq and Afghanistan. Another difference with FIRST Global is that teams are given a comprehensive kit of parts and may only use items from this kit of parts to construct their robot, this is unlike any other FIRST event where teams with a larger budget will have access to a wider range of parts. Providing teams with a set kit provides equity within the competition where no country's team has an advantage on accessibility of parts, this competition is purely teams engineering their solution with what is available.
Our team is extremely excited to attend the event which will be hosted in Washington DC in July of this year. Currently, the team has received the kit of parts and are starting to build and program a test robot - called a pushbot - to familiarize themselves with the kit of parts and programming software. After the pushbot is created, the team will then go on to read the rules of the game meticulously and from this, create a strategy for how the robot will perform its tasks. After the strategy is finalized, conceptual drawings will be created of potential mechanisms that could be implemented in the robot. From these conceptual drawings, the best will be selected to form the final design. Technical drawings of the robot are then created and these will lead to the creation of a 3D model. After the full design has been created, the robot can be put together for extensive testing before leaving for the tournament.
The competition is four days long with the first day consisting of robot inspections and practice rounds. In the past, robot inspections have proven to be one of the most difficult parts of the competition due to the strict enforcement of the rules at the competition. After this, however, we get the chance to test the robot on the field which us and most other teams have not seen before in person. This gives the team time to make final adjustments to the design and programming of the robot before the competition begins. During the second day, practice rounds continue and the opening ceremony is hosted that night to officially commence the competition. The next two days consist of rigorous competition where the team will compete with and against other nation’s teams and must cohere to a strict game timetable to ensure that all of the games have been completed in time for the closing ceremony and awards presentation at the end of the final day.