Competitions and exhibitions
Competitions for robots are gaining popularity, attracting participation from amateurs, private industry, schools and research institutions. Robots compete at a wide range of tasks including destructive combat, non-destructive combat, fire-fighting, maze solving, performing tasks, navigational exercises (eg. the DARPA Grand Challenge) and many others. Some contests require participants to provide tutorials showing how they built and programmed their robot.
Here is a list of ongoing, successful competitions and exhibitions.
Botball is a LEGO-based competition between fully autonomous robots. There are two divisions. The first is for high-school and middle-school students, and the second (called "Beyond Botball") is for anyone who chooses to compete at the national tournament. Teams build, program, and blog about a robot for five weeks before they compete at the regional level. Winners are awarded scholarships to register for and travel to the national tournament. Botball is a project of the KISS Institute for Practical Robotics, based in Norman, Oklahoma.
The DARPA Grand Challenge has held events since 2004 testing driverless cars in obstacle courses.
The FIRST Robotics Competition (FRC) is a multinational competition that teams professionals and young people to solve an engineering design problem. These teams of mentors (corporate, teachers, or college students) and high school students collaborate in order to design and build a robot in six weeks. This robot is designed to play a game that is developed by FIRST and changes from year to year. FIRST, or For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology, is an organization founded by inventor Dean Kamen in 1992 as a way of getting high school students involved in and excited about engineering and technology.
FIRST LEGO League (FLL) is a robotics competition for elementary and middle school students (ages 9-14, 9-16 in Europe), arranged by FIRST. Each year the contest focuses on a different topic related to the sciences. Each challenge within the competition then revolves around that theme. The students then work out solutions to the various problems that they're given and meet for regional tournaments to share their knowledge and show off their ideas. The World Festival is held every year in Atlanta.
The FIRST Tech Challenge (FTC) is a mid-level robotics competition targeted toward high-school aged students. It offers the traditional challenge of a FIRST competition but with a more accessible and affordable robotics kit. The ultimate goal of FTC is to reach more young people with a lower-cost, more accessible opportunity to discover the excitement and rewards of science, technology, and engineering.
The Intelligent Ground Vehicle Competition (IGVC) has hosted a yearly student robotics competition every year since 1993, usually in Michigan and usually in early June. See the web site for dates and location. It is multidisciplinary, theory-based, hands-on, team-implemented, outcome-assessed, and based on product realization. Many of the participants design their vehicles during year-long coursework. Students in business and engineering management, language and graphic arts, and public relations also participate. Students solicit and interact with industrial sponsors who provide component hardware and advice, and in that way get an inside view of industrial design and opportunities for employment.
The Trinity College Fire-Fighting Robot Contest competition in April 2007 was the 14th annual event. There are many different divisions for all skill levels. Robots in the competition are encouraged to find new ways to navigate through the rooms, put out a candle and save a "child" from a building. Robots can be composed of any materials, but must fit within certain size restrictions.
Basics -- Robotics
Robotics in Space
Robots in the Home
Robots in the Military