This year I’ve started volunteering with FIRST Robotics Competition (FRC) Team 1799 at Dakota Ridge High School which means I get to help high school students program a robot that they built!
I’ve always found robots interesting and exciting. Seeing things physically move because of my code is so cool! So being able to help high school students do the same is very exciting for me!
FIRST stands for “For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology” and the organization hosts many competitions at many levels for teams of kids to build robots to compete against (and cooperate with) robots built by other teams.
FRC is one of the high school-level competitions that not only requires students to build an industrial-size robot, but also create a brand and raise funds. It’s like a robotics startup run by high school students!
I primarily write C# code for web development which means that I write code that gets deployed by computers I can’t see to other computer that I can’t see. The team I’m mentoring uses Java and their code gets deployed from a laptop to a robot that’s in the same room. While code is code, these are entirely different ways of thinking about code and it’s going to be fun to learn and teach at time same time.
There is a really cool library used for FRC robots called WPILib and that library and related tools are going to be the most important and most difficult for me to understand and teach. The library and tools do a LOT for the students which is great for getting them up and running as fast as possible but it also makes it more difficult to understand exactly what is going on.
My goal for this year is to create content that can help the students of FRC 1799 read and understand the code and tools they need to make their robot succeed. I also plan on using this as an excuse to write how-to and tutorial posts for my website so that I can share our knowledge and experience.
For more information if you want to know more or also volunteer: