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Just when I thought my darling daughter’s schedule was full to the brim, she’s found another activity. She’s on her school’s FIRST Robotics Team. This is a technology magnet high school, so it’s akin to making the varsity football squad. They have a history of success, and expectations are high. Like any other high school activity, I’m gently “encouraged” to help, so her busy schedule becomes my busy schedule.
These aren’t glorified radio-controlled cars. They’re built to rigorous technical specifications on a tight schedule. The robots have to complete a complex series of tasks, and one portion is completely autonomous–robots must navigate themselves, make decisions, and take action without operator input. Points are awarded for performing tasks in a particular order, and within a time limit. It will look something like this:
There’s no shortage of engineers in our neighborhood, and my background in electronic warfare is useless, since that isn’t part of the competition, so I’ll be helping out in writer mode, going over their business plan and award submissions, making sure the language is clear, concise, and punchy. Hey, half of engineering is being able to explain what you’re doing to the decision makers and bankers.
Anyhow, I’ll keep you posted on our team’s progress.