My first FIRST = photos galore! *UPDATED!*

As promised, a chronicle of my inagural FIRST experience. No, it doesn't have much directly to do with the admission process at Olin... but it was a recruitment trip and it was a lot of fun and I figure there's a fair number of you out there with at least a passing interest in robotics... ;-)

So the National FIRST Robotics Championship took place in Atlanta at the Georgia World Conference Center. Holy cow, is that complex big!

streetsign.jpg Atlanta welcomes FIRST (on every other lamppost downtown!)

gwcc1.jpggwcc2.jpg Gorgeous weather and pretty grounds means lots of teams hanging around outside

exhibithall.jpg This is where I lived for 2 days - Scholarship Row, right outside the "pit" in Building C


pit3.jpg I was honestly speechless when I first saw the Pit from above. I mean, that is an insane number of people and robots!

ash.jpg So here's my FIRST "home away from home" (with Ash '09 being goofy)

hoppers-walkers.jpg Thanks to Ash and Greg '10, Professor Ben Linder agreed to loan us a few Hoppers and Walkers for the Olin table. I'm all about Show-and-Tell!

hoppers-walkers2.jpg A closer look at our props... These Hoppers and Walkers were all designed and built by first-year Oliners in a first semester course called Design Nature.

nasa-scout.jpg While wandering around the Pit, Ash made me promise to take a picture of the NASA Scout (Science Crew Operations and Utility Testbed). Ash <3 NASA. Sidenote - taking photographs with safety goggles on is kind of hard.

gatorbotics1.jpg So I found Team 1700 - Gatorbotics - which one of our admitted students is a member of. Little did I know that I was in the presence of greatness...

explodingbacon.jpg So without a doubt, my favorite team - based on name only - was Exploding Bacon from Florida. Their cheer was "Oink, oink... BOOM!" I am still smiling as I write this post!

explodingbacon2.jpg Oh yeah, and they had a pretty sweet robot as well!

alpinerobotics1.jpg Then I found Team 159 - Alpine Robotics - and Nick '11 with his fellow teammates. They gave me a personal "tour" of their robot

nickheartrobots.jpg Nick <3 his robot... yes, he is kissing it!

alpinerobotics4.jpg Later in the day, Alpine Robotics got a visit from the famed Woodie Flowers (FIRST Executive Advisory Board Vice Chairman and National Advisor, Professor of MechE at MIT and Distinguished Partner at Olin College).

curiedivision.jpg The Curie Division. I spent most of Saturday afternoon watching matches here. At the same time, there were matches going on for the other divisions in the other three corners of the GA Dome - Newton, Archimedes and Galileo.

gadome.jpg For a visual reference... the Dome is *huge* and there are four matches going on in any given moment. The arena in the middle is for the Einstein Division (read: championship)

gatorbotics3.jpg The Gatorbotics robot in a fierce competition...

alpinerobotics3.jpgAlpine Robotics huddle before a match...

alpinerobotics2.jpg A shot of their robot in action on the big screen!

While waiting for the final awards and Championship rounds, I managed to get a shot of 3/5 of the Olin representation for the weekend:

oliners1.jpg Yes, mom, they are that goofy! Eric '07, Eric '07 and Ash pose for the camera (not pictured: Ellen '10 and Greg '10 - they were hanging out with their high school teams down in the pit and in the arena... more on that later)

oliners2.jpg They look so sweet and innocent here...

dk1.jpg Although it's not the best photo, here's FIRST Founder and President of DEKA Research & Development Corporation - and "inventor, entrepreneur, tireless advocate for science and technology" - Dean Kamen at the Awards Ceremony. He showed us a 30-second clip of a robotic prosthetic arm that his company has been working on for just one year. It was amazing! Afterwards, Eric (the one on the left from pics above) leaned over and said, "Now you see why I'll be working for DEKA?!" By the way, both Erics are on Olin's DEKA SCOPE team this year.

Back to the MIA Oliners, Greg and Ellen... here's a note from Greg - consider him a guest blogger for a moment:

Ellen and I were busy running around watching our high school FIRST teams and lending them a hand. Her team was eliminated in the Semi-Finals on the Curie field. My team won the Newton Division, then went on to win the entire event, defeating a four-time national champion in the finals. They're getting tons and tons of press coverage, which is pretty exciting for my brother, who is the student team leader. The whole CNN article about it is here (

I figured it might be interesting to toss in the blog or something. It also brings the percentage of the freshman class that has ever won the FIRST Championship to over 2% (I love Olin and percentage statistics). We hope you had a fun time down there at your second FIRST event!


So that pretty much sums up my first FIRST! I met lots of amazing students (and their families) on Scholarship Row and I hope that all of you stay involved with FIRST... and stay in touch with Olin. :-D

Again, not one of my more timely posts but I couldn't help but share it with you, even if it was belated. Take care!

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