HomeFeatureEngineering201604FEMA engineers mentor a FIRST team

FEMA engineers mentor a FIRST team


The local Vicksburg, MI BullBots team finished their 2016 competition season this month with excellent results. The team, comprised of high school students and mentors, designed, engineered, and assembled a robot to participate in the national FIRST robotics competition. FIRST is a youth program "For Inspiration Recognition of Science and Technology". In two events the Bullbots team competed well and made it into the semi-finals of the competition! This was truly an outstanding finish for their 5th year participating in the FIRST program.

The team, led by mentors from FEMA Corporation, built a robot capable of picking up 8" diameter game balls, transporting them across obstacles, and firing them at the opposing team's target. The robot featured a twin motor drive system with 6 powered wheels and 8 non-powered wheels. Game balls were picked up using a loading screw system and fed into a shooting machanism via a rotating flap lift. Extensive LabVIEW programming allowed the students to drive the robot and control all of its functions wirelessly via twin joysticks.

FEMA machinists, programming engineers, and design engineers collaborated with the high school students to design, manufacture, program, and build the robot. The monumental effort by all was rewarded with the team's excellent performance in the competition.

FEMA has provided support for the Vicksburg Bullbot robotics team for several years. The mentorship program is valuable for all involved and for FEMA, it represents an investment into the future engineers in our region. FEMA regularly offers internships to high school and college engineering students, and the FEMA-sponsored robotics team has provided yet another avenue for local students to jump start their education and career. 

More information about FIRST Robotics can be found at:


Tags: Engineering

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