You should be able to do a search on "robot contests" at Google and get a lot of hits to check out, you can narrow it down for your region.
has a list of contests and FAQ's. If I remember there are some robotics clubs in your region, they usually host contest(s) of some sort to get in on with your students. Not all contests are as expensive at the FIRST ones. Some are cheaper and some cost even more. Wall Following, line following contests are quite popular, you can hold your own too. These robots can be made fairly cheaply too. Some clubs in your region:
Hey Ingo!!! It's been a long time since I've heard from you!
Last week, I was in our old stomping-ground. The ETH in Zurich.
I didn't get to see Bruno Loepfa, but while I was looking at the cutaway jet engines in the mechanical engineering building, I noticed a "Student-worker wanted" poster talking about a project using electro magnets to position a "micro-robot" inside a tank of fluid, and the professor was a guy I have taken a class from right here in Minnesota! Dr. Brad Nelson. He moved to the ETH about a year ago, and has a nice lab with 7 students.
So if you ever get back there, you should visit his lab. Very nice experiments on how to do micro robot stuff. Pretty crude right now, but someone needs to know how to position these things when they get invented.
We started our club (a general high school science club) with a grant from our local equivalent of a PTA. Our first, and so far only project has been a hydrogen fuel cell powered robot. With this grant, we got going and soon found companies willing to donate parts. Once you have something to show, it is pretty easy to raise funds. The tricky part is getting started. Several times I have had to dig deep into my own pockets to keep the project going.
So, I guess this doesn't directly apply to you, as we are not entering any contests or anything and aren't a robot specific club. However, if you ever wanted to consider a fuel cell powered robot, let us know. We would be happy to help out!
Keep us apprised of progress on the fuel cell robot, the project sounds facinating all by itself!
: We started our club (a general high school science club) with a grant from : our local equivalent of a PTA. Our first, and so far only project has been a : hydrogen fuel cell powered robot. With this grant, we got going and soon : found companies willing to donate parts. Once you have something to show, it : is pretty easy to raise funds. The tricky part is getting started. Several : times I have had to dig deep into my own pockets to keep the project going.
: So, I guess this doesn't directly apply to you, as we are not entering any : contests or anything and aren't a robot specific club. However, if you ever : wanted to consider a fuel cell powered robot, let us know. We would be happy : to help out!
: You can see the robot at: :
:> I have several questions for the readers of this newsgroup: :>
:> 1. Are there any robotics competitions for high school students other :> than the "FIRST" competitions? Or does FIRST have some sort of :> monopoly in this area? :>
:> 2. How can any high school possibly afford to enter the FIRST :> competition without corporate sponsorship? :>
:> 3. I'll take any other bits of advice you care to give me about :> starting a high school robotics club. :>
On Wed, 15 Oct 2003 18:53:31 -0800, dave e wrote (in message ):
Larry Richter and Geoff Newing at Lindbergh High School in Renton, Washington have developed a great regional robotics competition for high schools near Seattle. The last competition, Robohog 2003 attracted 80 some teams from more than a dozen schools. Nearly 300 contestants! The contest is really the culmination of a great curriculum they have developed to teach high schoolers engineering and sciences. It has also brought some students not traditionally interested in these fields into the fold.
They invited me to help judge, since I am Boeing's oldest living roboticist. I went to the first competition 3 years ago expecting a couple "propeller heads" and thought I had wandered into a basketball game by mistake. Hundreds of screaming fans, cheerleaders and some very creative designs.
They have a different challenge every year. Last year, for example, the contestants robots had to gather seed corn and put it into a bucket on their side of a 4 X 8 foot arena. The robot with more corn than their opponent won. They have also done robohockey. The rules are proposed at the beginning of the school year and students spend the rest of the year designing and building their entries. All the entries must be built from a standard set of parts that costs a couple hundred dollars.
Larry and Geoff started this competition because the expense for FIRST limits the number of teams that can compete, excluding kids that could be inspired by a more inclusive project. The corporate sponsorship can also lead to some investment of corporate pride, and a reduction in student content, if you get my drift....
Find a local tech company or two and engage their experts. Even companies that won't sponsor can contribute expertise to help you get started. (Geoff and Larry nabbed me, didn't they?) Check out local robot clubs. I know Geoff and Larry have a pretty good relationship with the Seattle Robotics Society, for instance.
Ask folks who have done it: email@example.com , for instance.