Saturday, March 07, 2009

I spent the day as a judge at the San Jose FIRST Tech Challenge at the Computer History Museum. I've been a judge before the FIRST Lego League events, but this was my first time at an FTC event and I really enjoyed it.

The challenge is aimed at older kids, has a more difficult problem to solve and allows for a more advanced robot, though they still have to build it from a limited set of materials. Some of the robots were really interesting and it was great to see how they performed in head to head competition after judging them.

The site where it was held, the Computer History Museum is also interesting. It is a big, obviously expensive building, previously home to Silicon Graphics and it's ratio of empty space to exhibits seems too high. There feels like there is a lot of empty space to look at and walk through without a lot to see, although there are some interesting relics in one side room.

There was one world class thing - the museum is currently the home to one of two working copies of the Babbage Difference Engine #2. I was able to attend a short demo where it was actually run and it was amazing to see it do its thing.

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