We Are the Robots

(for mood music, click here)

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.

FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) is a nationwide robot design and building competition, founded by Dean Kamen, he of Segway fame.

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.

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One thought on “We Are the Robots

  1. Cool. I can’t wait till my son gets to do some stuff like this. He’s a little on the young side for most tech classes, but he’s really into this sort of thing. He definitely has his dad’s engineering genes.

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