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New Directions In Fire Fighting Robotics

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2005 Annual Conference


Portland, Oregon

Publication Date

June 12, 2005

Start Date

June 12, 2005

End Date

June 15, 2005



Conference Session

Mobile Robotics in Education

Page Count


Page Numbers

10.961.1 - 10.961.9



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Paper Authors

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David Ahlgren

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

New Directions in Fire-Fighting Robotics

David J. Ahlgren Department of Engineering, Trinity College, Hartford, CT USA


The Trinity College Fire-Fighting Home Robot Contest (TCFFHRC) encourages inventors of all ages and levels of skill to develop autonomous fire-fighting home robots that can find, and extinguish as quickly as possible, a randomly placed fire in a model house. Open to persons of all ages and levels of skill, the contest engages a wide community of roboticists, whether school children or professional engineers, in a challenging shared design task, promotes robotics as a learning medium, builds international connections, strengthens cooperation, teamwork, and learning outside the classroom, and promotes the development of robots that someday will fight fires in real homes.

This paper describes the contest’s history and participation, and it presents changes to the rules that apply to the 2005 contest. As a case study the paper describes past and current projects carried out by the Trinity College Robot Study Team (RST) and demonstrates that the new 2005 contest rules have already had educational and technological impacts.

Background: The Trinity College Fire-Fighting Home Robot Contest

In 1994 the first Trinity College Fire-Fighting Home Robot Contest, organized by engineer and entrepreneur Jake Mendelssohn, attracted 22 robots from around the United States. Since it moved to Trinity College in 1995, this annual event has grown into one of the world’s best-known robot competitions. The mission of the Trinity College Fire- Fighting Home Robot Contest is to motivate inventors of all ages and skill levels to create autonomous robots that can efficiently find and extinguish a fire in a model home. The contest encourages application of science and technology principles in an atmosphere of creativity, teamwork, and friendly competition.

The contest awards cash prizes in five divisions: Junior, High School, Senior, Expert, and Walking and gives special awards for inventive design and cost effectiveness. Starting in 2003 the contest offered junior-high and high school teams the opportunity to take a theoretical test, the first robotics Olympiad associated with a major robotics contest. In 2004, 115 robots from the US and abroad competed at Trinity College in April. We plan for a modest expansion in 2005. Teams from more than eighty colleges and universities have competed over the years, and regional contests that use the TCFFHRC rules have been held in such locations as Beijing, Buenos Aires, Calgary, Dallas, Denver, Los Angeles, Philadelphia, Tel Aviv, Toronto, Seattle, and Shanghai. A regional fire-fighting robot contest begins operation in Singapore in 2005. For more information about the contest, the reader is referred to [1].

Ahlgren, D. (2005, June), New Directions In Fire Fighting Robotics Paper presented at 2005 Annual Conference, Portland, Oregon. 10.18260/1-2--15033

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