There are 7 main subteams that make up Penn Robotics, each with their own distinct purpose and role on the team.

Our business subteam is primarily concerned with funding our team. Each year, we organize a budget and forecast the amount that should be spent on our robot, team, and community. Annually around 80,000 dollars is raised on our team to put towards manufacturing, wiring, programming, designing a robot to compete with. A large portion of the funding also goes towards community outreach and helping people in need.

Out funding usually comes from sponsorships, fundraisers, and grants. We send letters to local businesses, set up fundraisers, and apply for government grants to reach our set goal. At the end of each season, we take a chunk of what’s left, and pack it away for a boost in the coming season as well. Our business subteam is full of opportunity and allows students to learn the basics of business that can be applied in the real world.


Media’s job is to show the face of our team. In the media subteam, we use a variety of skills to present our team to the public in the best possible light. These skills include things like taking quality pictures, using photoshop, editing videos, and making posts on social media.

Media is responsible for all of the visual content our team puts out, so it is crucial that we have a large repository of pictures at our disposal at all times. At least one representative from the media team should be present at all outreach events so that documentation can take place.


Most programming documentation, including downloading software, setting up code, basic programming, and information about basic connecting parts, can be found on the WPILib website. Linked within the WPILib website is the API documentation for your desired programming language (Java or C++).


Our programming subteam focuses on taking the robot built by manufacturing and design, and getting it to move through complex instructions in the form of programming. A barebones kit from FIRST contains the constraints on what the electronics can be on the robot, but other than that, everything else is for the wiring team to figure out.

When first building a robot, the wiring system is pre planned on paper to ensure that all of the mechanical components are arranged and wired up in the most efficient way possible. This subteam uses tools including wire crimper, soldering irons, and wire strippers to systemize the wiring board.


Our outreach subteam is dedicated to improving the state of STEM education and opportunities for young people in our community through FIRST Robotics. From event planning to networking to documenting, there are several skills that members of our team develop in running outreach events. We strive to make a positive impact on our community and keep our team sustainable to guarantee the same quality of work for years to come.

The biggest ways that we spread FIRST are through national conventions such as the ATIA conference, IMTS, and IDEAcon, as well as youth camps such as our 8+ summer camps and fall and winter workshops we host throughout the year. Feel free to reference the Outreach section of our website to see all the ways that we promote STEM and FIRST.


Our Manufacturing Subteam works closely with the Design Subteam to create the parts and systems that they design. We take the conceptual designs from the Design Subteam and figure out the best way to turn the designs into physical parts. Students learn advanced manufacturing principles utilising manual and CNC lathes and mills as well as a multitude of hand tools.


Our Design Subteam is crucial, we brainstorm and prototype robot designs and ensure that they align with our competition strategy. Our role is to generate creative ideas, while other subteams work on turning these concepts into reality.