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Forces in Motion

How far can a robot throw a ball? What makes a sailboat sail, or a high-flying machine fly? Can a fast-moving car have square wheels? Find out the answers to these questions and more as you compete to see who can keep motion-related designs flying longer, racing faster or shooting straighter. If it moves, we've got it covered.

  • Design a car and test its speed.
  • See how different wind directions affect a sailboat’s progress.
  • Guide a beach ball in the air and through a hoop using the power of the wind.
  • Design and test your own heliflyer.
  • Toss a ball sky-high with the help of a robot.
  • See a train that moves using magnets.


  • William and Margaret Cibes
  • H.A. Vance Foundation
  • Marjorie E. Morrissey
  • TRUMPF Inc.
  • Len and Robyn Wolman
  • Gallery

    Forces in Motion

    Rock Star Robotics?

    The FIRST Robotics competition takes robot design to rock concert levels of excitement. Each year more than a thousand teams compete to master a new design challenge. During the national finals, thousands of fans gather to cheer their robot to victory.

    Inventor Dean Kamen (inventor of the Segway and other devices) created the competition in 1992 to promote engineering to high school students. The contest, based on Dr. Woodie Flowers’ Mechanical Engineering course at MIT, has become a national event involving thousands of students of all ages. The Junior FIRST LEGO League involves students age 6 to 9. The FIRST LEGO League is for students 9 to 14. And finally, the first Tech Challenge and FIRST Robotics Competition engage high-school age students. Teams are judged not only on their score in the game, but on design excellence, teamwork and ability to overcome obstacles.

    Want to get involved? For more information, visit