33 robotics teams compete in FIRST R.I. Championship at NEIT

New England Tech is proud to support FIRST Robotics because it is so much more than robots.

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From the Providence Journal

Patrick Anderson
Journal Staff Writer

WARWICK — Months of fundraising, planning and community events completed, Saturday was all about the robots.

Dozens of the metal-armed machines, middle and high school students at their controls, wheeled their way across the floor of the host New England Institute of Technology’s automotive center in an all-day competition as confusing to the uninitiated as the circuits that power the robots.

They scooped up rubber balls. They climbed obstacle-strewn ramps. Sometimes they flipped over.

And for the 10th straight year, a select few teams — Rhode Rage 1 from Aquidneck Island Robotics, the Westerly Bulldogs from Westerly High and North Robotics from North Kingstown High — earned a spot in the FIRST Tech Challenge’s regional finals in March against teams from up and down the East Coast.

“It is getting more challenging every year: more teams, more kids on each team and the games are different every year,” said Rick Powell, team mentor for North Kingstown High School’s three entrants in the FIRST Rhode Island Championship.

Over the last 20 years, school robotics has grown from a science class novelty to an educational phenomenon, with competitions in every state, teams in most school districts and students spending hours after school preparing for events.

And while engineering still lies at the heart of most robotics contests, the teams have become more than a refuge for tinkerers.

Within North Kingstown’s teams are building groups, software groups, design groups (for the logo) and “notebook” groups that record everything, Powell said.

The 33 teams that made it to the state finals Saturday — another 23 were eliminated in three preliminary rounds — represent 24 schools and extracurricular groups with different resources and robotics histories.

Source: 33 robotics teams compete in FIRST R.I. Championship at NEIT

NEIT lab puts charge in student training – Providence Business News

Fantastic story from the Providence Business News about how New England Tech is training students for today’s manufacturing jobs.

STATE OF THE ART: New England Institute of Technology assistant professor Michael Eggeman and NEIT sophomore Gillian Eminger of Scituate examine the FMS- 200 in the newly completed automation lab for the school’s electrical engineering program. PBN PHOTO/ MICHAEL SALERNO

Source: NEIT lab puts charge in student training – Providence Business News

(Updated Jan. 19)

Stephen Koester, 23, prepared last fall to intern this academic quarter at the Providence office of Woodard & Curran, by using equipment in New England Institute of Technology’s updated electrical engineering lab.

The Portland, Maine-based environmental engineering firm is one of a handful that has a longstanding relationship with the school and hiring NEIT graduates, said NEIT alum and Woodard & Curran controls engineer Jeff Souza.

“When we go to the job fair, we look for people with good technical background [and] hands-on experience,” Souza said. “The equipment in the new lab is very up to date. The graduates come in and can do more things than graduates from other programs at other schools right off the bat.”

Launched about four years ago, the revamped Electrical Engineering Industrial Automation Lab has been upgraded with equipment to give practical, real-world experience, said assistant professor Michael Eggeman. Koester, a senior, has used the lab and is eager to see what he can do.

“We got to see the different type of controllers, like the Proportional Integral Derivative, [in which] the system tries to recalibrate back to a set point number,” explained Koester, likening the effect to that on a cruise-control system in a car. “The lab has a lot of up-to-date, relevant technology; it just gets us more used to what we might see when we graduate.”

NEIT installed equipment for the lab’s second phase of development last spring, and Koester was one of the first students to use a so-called process-control training rig, in which he and his peers could learn how to control the pressure, flow and level of fluids.

While the students use water in the hands-on lessons for safety, the control rig has applicability in such areas as pharmaceuticals and water treatment systems, where chemicals are used, Eggeman said.

About 50 students a year are enrolled in NEIT’s 18-month electrical engineering bachelor’s degree program, which is undertaken following completion of the 18-month electrical technology associate degree, the professor said.

In addition to the process control training rig, Eggeman said, there are six workstations that give hands-on experience, and four others called the Flexible Manufacturing System, or FMS 200.

Up and running in fall 2014, the six workstations provide real equipment, like a motor, for instance, instead of so-called “trainer cases,” which hold devices in a suitcase-like container and only simulate the effect of correct electrical engineering coding.

So, when a student correctly writes and programs electrical code to control the function of a pump or motor, instead of a light turning on the way it does in a trainer case to show it’s working properly, the pump or motor at a workstation will kick into action, he said.

While the trainer cases are still in use, Eggeman said, “Slowly but surely, we’re rolling the workstations into the classes and the curriculum.”

Students also learn how to communicate over several industrial automation networks.

Built about eight years ago, the FMS 200 more realistically simulates the manufacturing environment in which component pieces are assembled into a final, though still simulated, product. It is used primarily for troubleshooting exercises by testing for 48 different potential bugs, Eggeman said.

Originally located on the Warwick campus, these stations were underutilized by associate degree students and consequently moved to the East Greenwich campus in early 2015, he said.

“It completed the lab,” he explained. “It allowed us to have a system in there so I could go in as the instructor and flip a couple of switches behind a locked door and all of a sudden the system doesn’t work anymore and students have to troubleshoot why.”

Eddie DiPasquale, 22, of Mahopac, N.Y., is an NEIT senior who has been writing code for programmable logic controllers, where a computer controls product production. The lab provides experience, not just textbook knowledge, he said.

“It gives you a real-world application in a classroom setting,” DiPasquale said. “We’re using equipment that gets used in the field. I think it gives us a competitive edge, because we actually get to use the equipment hands-on.”

Souza’s firm and Eric Freitas, president of the Control Automation Group in Warwick, say they’ve hired several NEIT graduates over the past few years. Souza has hired 20 for a staff that numbers about 40, while Freitas has hired five for a staff of about 20.

“All the components I use to design a machine, [NEIT students] are exposed to that in the lab, so they already know what it is and what it does,” Freitas said. •

Join us for TECHXPO 2016!

pic for blog

Please join us for TECHXPO 2016, our annual Technology Career Expo, on Thursday, March 10, 2016. This event will be held on all three levels of Tech Way on the East Greenwich Campus from 9:30 am to 12:30 pm. This is a private event, open only to NEIT students and graduates, with many companies set to attend. So take advantage of this great networking opportunity! Be sure to have your resumes ready and to dress in appropriate business attire. Current students from all quarters and graduates from the following technologies are encouraged to attend: Business Management, Criminal Justice, Cyber Security, Digital Media Production, Electrical Technology, Electronics Systems, Electrical Engineering, Game Development/Simulation Programming, Graphics/Multimedia/Web Design, Information Technology – Network Engineering/Software Engineering, Mechanical Engineering, and Video Game Development/Design. If you have any questions, contact the Career Services Office at 401-739-5000 x 3458.

List of attending companies (as of 2/9/2016):

NEIT to Host FIRST® Robotics Competition

East Greenwich, RI – New England Institute of Technology (NEIT) will sponsor the tenth annual FIRST® (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) Tech Challenge on Saturday, January 30, 2016, from 9:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.  Serving as Rhode Island’s FIRST® Tech Challenge Affiliate Partner, NEIT will host 33 middle and high school robotics teams for the state competition at the university’s Center for Automotive Technology located at 101 Access Road, Warwick, Rhode Island.

Accomplished inventor, Dean Kamen, founded FIRST® in 1989 to inspire students with an appreciation of science and technology through the fun of robotics. The goal is to engage students in developing problem solving, critical thinking, and innovative reasoning skills using custom-designed robots.  Middle school and high school teams will compete for the chance to participate at the FIRST® state, regional and world championships.

More than 55 Rhode Island middle and high school teams have registered for this high-energy event. Qualifier competitions were held on December 5th and December 19th with one more qualifier scheduled for January 9, 2016, at NEIT’s East Greenwich campus located at One New England Tech Blvd.  These qualifier competitions determine which 33 teams advance to the state tournament. Winners of the state competition will travel to the East Super-Regional FIRST® competition in Scranton, Pennsylvania in March, 2016. Top teams from the four Super-Regional tournaments will earn a spot at the FIRST® World Championship in St. Louis, Missouri in April, 2016.

Qualifier competitions as well as the state tournament are free and open to the public.  For more information on the FIRST® Tech Challenge, please contact Erin Flynn, Manager of Admissions Outreach and Events at New England Tech at 401-739-5000, ext. 3462 or eflynn@neit.edu. To learn more about the FIRST® organization, please visit www.usfirst.org.

NEIT to Host Free Career Exploration Workshops

EAST GREENWICH, RI – Dr. Douglas H. Sherman, Senior Vice President and Provost at New England Institute of Technology (NEIT), announced that the university will offer a free series of Career Exploration workshops designed for individuals interested in exploring various career options. Each Career Exploration Day will feature two to three hands-on workshops giving participants the opportunity to experience firsthand some of the job responsibilities in their field of interest. Faculty, graduates and employers will be on hand to guide students through the activities and to answer any questions regarding potential career paths.

All Career Exploration Days are free of charge and will be conducted on Saturday mornings from 9:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. with lunch available from 12:00 p.m. to 12:30 p.m. The schedule of workshops is as follows:

January 9, 2016: Automotive, Marine, and Criminal Justice

January 23, 2016:  Information Technology and Digital Media

February 6, 2016:  Health Sciences

February 27, 2016:  Engineering and Architecture

March 5, 2016:  Building Trades

March 12, 2016: Various Management Programs

Sherman stated. “For more than 75 years, New England Tech has offered technical hands-on training to its students. Learning by doing is what drives our more than 50 associate, bachelor’s and master’s degree programs. The goal of the Career Exploration workshops is to offer individuals the opportunity to gain a stronger sense of their career interests through hands-on activities as well as to learn about the education and training that will be required to be successful in the workplace.”

To RSVP or for a complete listing of the programs being offered, visit www.neit.edu/careerexploration or call 401-467-7744 for more information.

Mechanical Engineering News

New England Tech Mechanical Engineering forms Quadricycle ClubStudents benefit greatly when instructors bring industry knowledge into the classroom, and that is especially true for individuals enrolled in NEIT’s Mechanical Engineering Technology (MCT) program.  Christopher Vasconcelos is an Assistant Professor in the MCT program and also serves as the advisor for the NEIT Quadricyle Club.  Similar to other faculty members, earning industry certifications and writing articles for publications are methods Chris uses to share his passion for mechanical engineering with his students.

Most recently, Chris received three certifications in machining through the National Institute for Metalworking Skills (NIMS), an organization founded in 1995 by the metalworking trade associations to develop and maintain a globally competitive workforce by setting skills standards, granting 52 NIMS skills certifications, and accrediting training programs. Congratulations to Chris for earning Metalworking Skills Certifications in Milling I, Measurement, Materials & Safety, and Job Planning, Benchwork & Layout.

Chris has also authored several publications with his latest article, the “Shortstack Twin”, appearing in the July/August 2015 issue of “The Home Shop Machinist” magazine. Since 2008, MCT associate degree students have built more than 100 similar air engines and experienced the importance of a team building approach to learning.

Automation Lab Features New Training Equipment

12-Automation LabThe Electrical Engineering Technology department has completed the installation of its new Lab-Volt® 3531 Process Control Training System.  The equipment, which was purchased through a $117,000 grant from the Champlin Foundations, was installed in the department’s Automation Lab located in room S351.  The training system will be used by both Electrical Engineering Technology and Mechanical Engineering Technology students for process measurement and control classes in the respective Bachelor of Science degree programs.  The courses will prepare students for today’s high-tech methods of process control techniques in the areas of flow, pressure and level.  The equipment installation completes the second phase of the Automation Lab.  Faculty from both departments completed a two-day training session provided by Lab-Volt®.

For more information on NEIT’s Electrical Engineering Technology and Mechanical Engineering Technology degree programs, contact the Admissions Office at 800-736-7744, by email at NEITAdmissions@neit.edu or visit www.neit.edu.

Career Exploration Series

This is an awesome new series to help potential students get a taste of what these careers in these fields would be like.  All Career Exploration Days are FREE of charge.  To RSVP or learn more, visit www.neit.edu/careerexploration or call Admissions at 401.467.7744 ext. 3357.

New England Tech Career Exploration Days

 

 

RI FIRST Tech Challenge Call for Volunteers

FIRST Res QThe 10th season of the Rhode Island FIRST Tech Challenge (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) hosted by New England Institute of Technology(NEIT) is underway.  NEIT is looking for technical professionals, educators, parents and all others interested in volunteering. Each season approximately 45 R.I. middle and high school robotic teams design, build and compete in the RI FIRST Tech Challenge.

We need you!

Adult volunteers are assigned key roles to keep the qualifiers and tournament on track.  No need to be an expert in robotics or engineering, just a willingness to support our R.I. students in their interest in technology.

Volunteer at a Qualifier!

Teams in R.I. advance to the state tournament by participating in a qualifying tournament.  The dates for the qualifiers are 11/14, 12/5, 12/19and 1/9/16.  Qualifiers run from 7:30 am until 4 pm. The work is fun and lunch is provided!

Volunteer at the State Tournament!

32 R.I. FTC teams will advance to the RI State Tournament out of 48 teams. The R.I. State Tournament is a held on 1/30/16 with set-up and prep on 1/29/16. Volunteers for State Tournament must have volunteered at one qualifying tournaments.

Hurry! Register with FIRST!

If you are interested in joining in the FIRST fun, you must register as a volunteer through the FIRST system. This information will be sent directly to the RI FIRST Affiliate Partner, Erin Flynn.  https://my.usfirst.org/FIRSTPortal/Login/VIMS_login.aspx

For more information on FIRST and the FTC Challenge go to www.usfirst.org. For more information on NE Tech go to www.neit.edu

Erin Flynn, RI FIRST Affiliate Partner at New England Institute of Technology                           800-736-7744 ext. 3462 or by e-mail at eflynn@neit.edu

Steps to register with the FIRST VIMS Volunteer Program

  1. Go to the Volunteer Information Matching System (VIMS) – https://my.usfirst.org/FIRSTPortal/Login/VIMS_login.aspx
  2. Create an account
  3. Apply to an event
    1. From Left Hand Navigation, click “Volunteer Role Applications”
    2. Click the button that says “Apply for an Event”
    3. Select “FTC”
    4. Select State/Province – “Rhode Island”
    5. Press “Find Event”
  4. You will find the qualifier dates of 11/14, 12/5, 12/19 and 1/9 as well as the 1/29-30 state tournament date listed.
  5. Select the event and fill out the application.
    1. Select roles in preference order you would like to apply to (1 being most preferred)
    2. Select days you are able to volunteer.
    3. Remember to add additional comments if you have specific restrictions on your time
    4. Click “Submit”
  6. You will be returned to the “Volunteer Role Applications” page.
  7. Repeat steps 3-5 to apply to multiple events.

Attached are in the instructions that can be found on the website as well. They provide screenshots of each of these steps.

FIRST 25

 

Drs have implanted a 3D-printed ribcage in an actual human being

3D Printing continues to prove to be very versatile with many, many uses.  But 3D printing body parts is likely the most amazing thing I’ve heard about.

From MSN:

© Provided by Quartz a 3d-printed breastplate and ribs

3D printing seems to be finding a niche in medicine. The latest feat: Two weeks ago, doctors implanted a 3D-printed titanium sternum and ribs into a patient in Spain. According to CNET, he’s doing well.

The patient is suffering from a form of cancer that formed tumors in his chest cavity. To get rid of them, doctors at Salamanca University Hospital needed to cut out a section of his ribs, along with his breastplate. Often, doctors would replace the ribcage with a flat piece of titanium—which can actually loosen over time—but 3D printing allows for a more customized implant. The team at Salamanca took CT scans of the patient’s ribcage and used those images both to show surgeons exactly where to cut, and to create a 3D model to print replacement parts.

The team contracted Anatomics, an Australian medical company, to figure out how to print the file. Anatomics sent the 3D files to the Australian government’s3D-printing lab at the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO). The lab’s printer prints by using a high-powered electron beam to melt metal powder into layers. The result was a titanium object that looks less like ribs and more like something you’d see in a car’s engine, and fit perfectly into the patient’s ribcage.

Beyond being able to create truly personalized solutions to medical problems, 3D printing allows doctors to rapidly prototype ideas. In the US, doctors are using 3D printing to produce models for doctors to inspect and figure out the best plan for surgeries, without any invasive biopsies needed. Researchers are also working on 3D-printed tissue implants, but those haven’t been approved for use in humans yet. 3D printing, however, has started to make some regulatory inroads in the US. Last month, the Food and Drug Administration approved the first 3D-printed drug for consumption, and the FDA is researching more safe ways to bring the technology into the human body.

3D printing, especially in medicine, is still in its infancy. The Salamanca team’s achievement may well pave the way for more 3D-printed parts in humans, and perhaps America’s obsession with elective cosmetic surgery may one day extend to 3D-printed improvements. Hopefully no-one tells the Canadian government.

To learn how you can get started learning about 3D printing, contact Admissions by phone at 401-467-7744 ext. 3357 or by email at NEITAdmissions@neit.edu.