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Fire Fighting Robot Competitions And Learning Outcomes – A Quantitative Assessment

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2000 Annual Conference


St. Louis, Missouri

Publication Date

June 18, 2000

Start Date

June 18, 2000

End Date

June 21, 2000



Page Count


Page Numbers

5.300.1 - 5.300.12

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Paper Authors

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Igor M. Verner

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Jacob E. Mendelssohn

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David J. Ahlgren

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NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

Session 2332

Fire-Fighting Robot Competitions and Learning Outcomes: A Quantitative Assessment Igor M. Verner, David J. Ahlgren, Jacob E. Mendelssohn Technion -- Israel Institute of Technology/ Trinity College, Hartford


This paper presents a quantitative assessment of the Trinity College Fire-Fighting Home Robot Contest, the largest robot contest open to designers of any age, affiliation and experience [1,2]. Our assessment develops a profile of the participants, and it evaluates factors that motivate the participants, including interest in designing robots, interest in science and technology, career opportunities, and engagement of robotics as a hobby. The paper also evaluates participants’ progress in eight key disciplines related to robot design, including electronics, teamwork, system design, and programming.

I. Introduction

The Trinity College Fire-Fighting Home Robot Contest is the largest robotics competition in the world that is open to contestants of any age, affiliation, ability, and experience. The contest offers a design challenge that can be addressed at varying levels of technical sophistication, and it has attracted NASA scientists and professional engineers, college and high school students, and even fourth-graders. Fully operational robots have been built by single individuals and by teams as large as 15 persons. The event has been covered widely in the print media with articles in Electronic Design, Popular Mechanics, Circuit Cellar INK, Byte, the London Times, and the New York Times. Regional fire-fighting contests have been held in Calgary, Seattle, Fort Worth, and Philadelphia. In 2000 a regional contest will involve both secondary-school and university- level design teams in Israel.

Of the 87 robots entered in the 1999 Trinity fire-fighting contest, 73 robots, involving 237 team members, actually competed. In the last two contests some 35 college and university teams have competed in the contest’s senior division, and 28 accepted the design challenge in 1999. Entrants included persons from Tufts, Yale, M.I.T., the U.S. Air Force Academy, Penn State University, Trinity, University of Texas, New Mexico Tech., Ohio State, Drexel, the U.S. Naval Academy, the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, and Chiang Mai University in Thailand. Moreover, thirty-two robots were entered in the 1999 contest’s junior (K-12) division. High-school participants came from Michigan, New Jersey, New York, Ontario and Pennsylvania, middle- school teams came from Georgia and New York. There were also five high-school teams with 24

Verner, I. M., & Mendelssohn, J. E., & Ahlgren, D. J. (2000, June), Fire Fighting Robot Competitions And Learning Outcomes – A Quantitative Assessment Paper presented at 2000 Annual Conference, St. Louis, Missouri.

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