This morning our team had the wonderful opportunity to host an international group of women in STEM through Global Ties Alabama. The students talked to the visitors about FIRST Robotics, what the team does, how our robot works, and what their future plans were. The visitors in turn told the students about what they do in their countries.
Afterwards we took the visitors downstairs to the Advanced Manufacturing section of the school and showed them the: 1) CAD/Solidworks class, 2) 3D printing lab with the printer that manufactures meatal parts, the carbon fiber room with the kiln for curing the material, and then the welding class/building.
The visitors were impressed with the students and how much they knew about the robot and robotics. The students had a great time also, and were reluctant to go back to class when the visit was over.
We once again wowed all the little kids attending STEAMfest by letting them drive our robot around.
Our friends the Gigawatts were unable to attend, but another friend, Team 34 The Rockets, were there. In addition, there were several FIRST Tech Challenge teams there, including:
Our students had fun handing out buttons, Halloween candy, and supervising the children who got to drive the robot. The robot was in almost constant use for several hours, and overheated a few times. That's what happens when you have 4 tanks for compressed air - as pressure rises, the temperature rises. We also went through three fully charged batteries.
The students are already thinking ahead to next year -- first of all bring more batteries. Second - we should have a swerve chassis to display! Until next year!
We didn't participate in the parade, but did set up a booth for the after-parade activities. We had our robot, buttons, and recruitment materials at our table.
When they lit the bonfire, our team members and a few other students had fun tossing around one of our "cube" game pieces from last season.
We were invited to display our robot at the Pathfinder Symposium for the second year. This year it was held in the East Hall of the VBC in Huntsville. We loaded up our robot and driving supplies, and 10 students for the event this year.
The students engaged with the symposium attendees and demonstrated the robot's capabilities.
In addition to demonstrating our robots, all the students had the opportunity to visit all the exhibits. Some took the opportunity to try a flight simulator, others were able to build model airplanes.
The students also presented our robot in an auditorium in front of all of the symposium attendees, and many of the exhibitors.
Today we participated in the Festival portion of the Celebrating Education Parade & Festival. Several students came out to school on Saturday to help out.
We set up on the other side of the track/football field as we have in the past. The concrete pads we used to use for driving the robot now have bleachers on them. We had to find a spot near electricity so we could use the wifi to talk to our robot. We spread out a tarp so as not to destroy the robot wheels on the asphalt.
Several people stopped by to either drive the robot or watch. We also had buttons, bookmarks, keychains, and candy to hand out.
We did have to compete with the free fried fish sandwich line, which attracted almost everyone at the Festival.
As lunch was wrapping up we decided to pack up and take everything back inside. Our robot wasn't cooperating (as sometimes happens) and instead of troubleshooting in the heat we decided to leave. Most of the other booths had also left by that time anyway. We did have a good time, and awed many of the attendees with our robot.
Several students spent the day at Rolling Hills Elementary School to help with Field Day. They assisted the younger students with activities such as bouncy houses and slides. Everyone had a fun day, and the robotics team members enjoyed working with the younger students.
Most of the team was at another activity, but that didn't stop us from giving a tour of the Robotics Lab, College Academy, and Advanced Manufacturing facility at Jemison today. This group hosted by Global Ties Alabama is from Oman, and they enjoyed seeing all that Jemison has to offer. A team member was able to break away from class long enough to give the College Academy/Robotics Lab part of the tour, and he explained several things about our robot.
Mr. Whaley, the Advanced Manufacturing teacher continued the tour with his CAD room, 3D Printing room, Carbon Fiber room, and the Welding building. The group was impressed that a high school had those types of facilities that students can use, and even earn certifications in class.
Thursday afternoon we were honored to have Kristiyan Mihaylov, co-founder of Professional Association of Robotics and Automation (PARA), a robotics incubator program. He is from Bulgaria and in addition to touring Chicago and other parts of the U.S., he attended the Rotary Club of Greater Huntsville meeting on Wednesday, and on Thursday visited Jemison and our robotics lab.
PARA fosters partnerships that connect robotic and automation companies and best practices for the industry throughout Bulgaria. Kris is a Young Transatlantic Innovation Leaders Initiative (YTILI) Fellow who came to the U.S. through Global Ties Alabama.
He visited the Rocket City Regional last weekend, and wanted to learn more about our team. The students spent a while talking to him and learning what Incubator programs are. The team explained and demonstrated the robot to him, and at Wednesday's Rotary Lunch he got to drive the bot for a while.
We attended our annual lunch visit to the Rotary Club of Greater Huntsville, our primary sponsor. Twelve students attended, and sat at tables with Rotarians during lunch to talk robotics.
Prior to the program the team members presented a signed shirt and Baby Jag to Stanley Construction, one of our sponsors, and another Baby Jag to the Rotary Club.
We then viewed the presentation from the Huntsville Parks and Recreation department.
When the meeting ended we demonstrated our robot out in the atrium and several Rotarians participated by "catching" the cubes the robot presented.
We had a great time thanking our sponsor and getting to meet the Rotarians who help make our team possible!
As part of Black History Month, Jemison has had a Black Entrepreneurs and Professionals week, with various people coming to talk to the different parts of the school, such as band, esthetics, etc. We were honored this morning by a visit to our robotics lab by the National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE). They spent about two hours in the lab talking with the students. Each engineer told their story about how they got into their field, and the students in return told them what possible fields they were looking at in the future.
The students had many questions to ask of the engineers about the different types of engineering, what each does, and other questions. They also explained what this season's game is about (Charged Up) and what the mechanisms on the robot will do. They also explained last season's robot and the practice bot with mecanum wheels. They explained how it was used to test the pneumatics before they went on to the competition robot.
The students also showed off the projects we worked on first semester; the jaguar in the rainforest battery charging station, the A-frame stock metal storage frame, and the new robot cart. The showed the visitors the parts we have 3D printed or milled on our tabletop CNC.
Each visitor left with one of our business cards and a Baby Jag phone stand. The students reluctantly went back to class around 11:20 AM.