Clash of robots puts technology skills to test

Fantastic story in the Warwick Beacon highlighting the First Robotics competition that took place on our campus over the weekend. Congratulations to all who competed.

via Clash of robots puts technology skills to test – Warwick Beacon.

While most were focused on the big New England Patriots game, the students who participated in Saturday’s For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology (FIRST) competition proved that they, too, were the weekend’s real winners.

“I would say the majority of these kids do not participate in sports,” joked Warwick Veterans Memorial High School robotics team coach Larry West.  “They’ve put a lot of time and effort into this, and this contest gives kids another way to compete rather than through sports.”

Hundreds of students and spectators filled the New England Institute of Technology’s Center for Automotive Technology (NEIT) building with Super Bowl sized enthusiasm. They’d come for a competition featuring deflate-proof wiffle and ping-pong balls, and tech savvy young adults who’d journeyed for months to engage in futuristic robot skirmishes.

“We’ve put over 150 hours into this, definitely,” said lead programmer Kevin Sanita of the Veterans team, which goes by the name Cane Bots. “It’s intense.”

The daylong event was a flurry of activity that made Star Trek’s faster than light warp drive technology seem slow and outdated by comparison. Thirty-three teams, comprised of 250 middle and high school students from throughout the state, met to showcase robots that they’d designed, built and programmed.

“Today our hope is that the students participating enjoy the competition while at the same time use math and engineering principals to win,” said Steve Kitchin, NEIT’s Vice President for Corporate Education and Training.

The competition gives teens programming and prototype development experience and problem solving and team building skills while constructing robots to competition specifications. Winning teams go on to compete at regional and national competitions for college scholarships. Dozens of robots filled the center, partaking in a series of contests with serious sets of rules and guidelines.

“We understand that ensuring that young people have opportunities like this, and begin to think of careers in science and engineering, are critical to the future of our state,” said Congressman David Cicilline at the event. “In addition to being great fun, watching [students] do this gives us a lot of hope in the future of our state and country.”

Warwick’s contingent of students was well represented by both public and private schools, with Vets, Rocky Hill School and Bishop Hendricken participating.

“This is a culmination of their four months of efforts in trying to put this robot together to accomplish these tasks,” said Hendricken coach Rick Notardonato, whose team went through three robot designs this season. Their robot’s name is Robo Hawk. “This is an opportunity for them to do hands on learning that they don’t really have an opportunity to do in any of their classes, it’s really big for them,” he said.

The contest pits teams against one another as their robots completed automated- and team-guided tasks. The competition was closely monitored by referees and judges to ensure fairness and quality.

“I’m an engineer, and I think this is so important for kids. I absolutely love it,” said Helen Greathouse, who served as head judge for the eighth year. “There’s a gracious professionalism that’s such a big part of this event. We like to see teams helping each other. One team gave another a new battery; they loan each other tools. There’s almost an alliance between teams that may have never worked together before.”

The contest saw tremendous excitement early on with Warwick Vets team stunning the crowd by performing exceptionally well during an early round. Their high score came in the “Cascade Effect” event, where robots collect and strategically place wiffle and ping-pong balls.

“We’ve had one competition so far and we’re on our way to our second,” said Sanita after the round. “The first one, the autonomous part didn’t go exactly as planned, but it was very close. We got good points, we got 384 points in that round!”

“Did you see what Vets did during that round? That may be a national scoring record, that was an incredible performance,” said Hendricken coach Notardonato.

While the competition saw the Aquidneck Island, Burrillville and Mt. Hope teams advance to the Eastern Super Regional Tournament in Scranton, Pa. in March, the Warwick Vets team’s success in the competition was recognized when they received the competition’s Think Award.

According to competition rules, the judged Think Award is given to the team that best reflects the “journey” the team took as they experienced the engineering design process during the season. The team’s engineering notebook, a log kept throughout the year, is the reference used by judges in determining the award.

“This competition is a cross curricular format. There’s English used, the kids have to maintain a notebook for this, and math and programming go hand and hand,” said coach West. “I’m just really proud of the kids for getting together and working so well.”

Regardless of the final outcome, it was clear that all the students involved were winners for achieving so much from their positive experiences.

“I’d like to thank everyone involved in this, it’s been amazing,” said programmer Sanita. “Whether or not we win, it’s still amazing what we did, and it’s amazing what all these people here did.”

Read more at The Warwick Beacon.

Employer Feedback

All of the recent NEIT graduates that we interviewed seemed to have real life knowledge and experiences to help them get started in their field of expertise.  NEIT is doing a wonderful job getting their students prepared for work experience.”

– Dawn Rubino, Director of Human Resources, Stolberger Inc. dba, Wardwell Braiding Co.

 

Deflate-gate: Mechanical Engineering Weighs-In

Everyone is talking about what is being called ‘deflate-gate’ and no matter where you stand on the subject there is a technical side to this story.  New England Tech’s Mechanical Engineering Department Chair, Dean Plowman talked to RJ Heim of WJAR yesterday.

From WJAR news report:

With ESPN reporting that 11 of the 12 Patriots’ game footballs were 2 pounds per square inch below the regulation minimum of 12.5 pounds, it’s important to note that different air temperatures make a difference on the pressure.

“The temperature is always going to be a variable, just like (with) your car tires. The car tires are always changing their pressure based on (air) temperature,” Dean Plowman of the New England Institute of Technology said.

The gas going in the football, presuming it is air, is mostly nitrogen at 78 percent and oxygen at 21 percent. But with higher humidity — it was raining at the Sunday night game — water content can be as high as 6 percent, displacing the previous gasses.

“So, if I fill a football at 71 degrees to 12.5 psi (pounds per square inch) and I take that ball outside to 51 degrees, the pressure inside that ball is going to drop proportionally relative to that temperature drop,” Plowman said.

So, with a 20-degree temperature drop, that would mean at most a half pound of pressure difference inside the ball.

Even accounting for the temperature difference and its effect on the pressure in the football, it would still leave the balls in question with reportedly a pound-and-a-half of pressure below the regulation limit. How that happened is the question.

“To do something like that is a lot of work. So, why would you even risk, you know, doing that?” Plowman said.

$120 Million Expansion Project is underway

1-ExpansionNew England Institute of Technology continues to grow! Now entering the second phase of its $250,000,000 development program at the East Greenwich campus, President Richard I. Gouse announced plans for expanding academic facilities and programs along with the construction of the college’s first on-campus residence hall.

Phase 2 of the expansion project will include the following improvements:

  • More than 300,000 square feet of new facilities.
  • A new 400-bed, on-campus dormitory.
  • Expanded classroom space, focusing on information technology capability.
  • A new student dining area.
  • Expanded amenities for students including a fitness center.
  • The development of a college ‘green’ open space area.
  • Infrastructure upgrades to the college’s 226-acre campus in electrical, water, sewer, drainage, and traffic flow.

President Gouse stated, “This expansion will make New England Tech the region’s largest provider of collegiate level technology-driven training.” In addition, new and expanded programs will be offered that will include advanced manufacturing, health sciences, architecture, engineering, and Digital Media Production (previously known as video/audio production.)

New England Tech has recently completed several significant projects:

  • The creation of an information technology workforce training initiative dedicated to meeting the 21st century information technology needs of the region’s employers.
  • Accreditation renewal by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges, through its Commission on Institutions of Higher Education.
  • Expansion of NEIT’s nursing simulation laboratory making the college New England’s largest and most comprehensive health science education facility.
  • Working with the Town of East Greenwich and the State Department of Transportation, NEIT has completed two major transportation projects to assist with traffic flow in the campus area.
  • Since 2005, nearly 12,000 students have graduated from NEIT securing employment with more than 4,000 companies, 2000 of them in Rhode Island.
  • New England Tech is proud to begin its 75th year of operation and will mark this milestone with anniversary events throughout the year.

President Gouse concluded, “On behalf of our entire college community, I am pleased to announce this commitment to our students, faculty and staff. The first two phases in our campus development will represent a $250 million dollar investment in Rhode Island and our host community, East Greenwich. This economic development investment will place our college at the most advanced levels of workforce training for 21st century employment.”

New Automation Lab Is Now Open

New England Tech has collaborated with Rockwell Automation, Inc., Marlborough, Massachusetts division, in the development of a new automation lab for students enrolled in the college’s Bachelor of Science Degree program in Electrical Engineering Technology (ELT). Rockwell Automation’s personnel and New England Tech faculty worked together to procure the equipment needed to create six new work stations. Through hands-on learning, students will acquire the high tech automation and process control skills required in the manufacturing industry.  

NEIT has also added the Instron 5982 Advanced Mechanical Testing System to train students in the Civil Engineering and Mechanical Engineering Technologies. Using this equipment, students can evaluate mechanical properties of materials and components used in a variety of industries such as automotive, aerospace, and major highway/bridge construction. 

For more information on New England Tech’s over 40 associate, bachelor’s, master’s and online degree programs, call 800-736-7744, 401-467-7744, or email NEITAdmissions@neit.edu

 

Welcome, Liz Robberson

Liz RobbersonLiz Robberson has joined NEIT’s Office of Student Support Services with an extensive background in career counseling. She previously served as the School to Career Coordinator at William M. Davies, Jr. Career and Technical High School as well as the Senior Career Educator and Communications and Marketing Project Coordinator at Johnson & Wales University.

Liz’s educational background includes a Master’s Degree in Education in Teaching and Learning from Johnson & Wales University and a Bachelor of Arts Degree in English/Secondary Education from Rhode Island College.

She will be assisting students enrolled in the following technologies: Architectural Building, Civil Engineering, Construction Management, Cyber Security, Electrical and Mechanical Engineering, Electronic Systems Engineering, Information Technology (Bachelor’s and Master’s level), Interior Design and Respiratory Care.

 

Manufacturing is NOT dead

I know the United States may not manufacture as much as it once did, however, it still ranked #1 in global manufacturing as recently as 2010. And with advanced manufacturing really getting momentum in the United States it is primed to bring more manufacturing back. Manufacturing Countries

If you would like additional information about any of New England Tech’s over 40 Associate, Bachelor’s, Master’s and online degree programs, including Mechanical Engineering Technology.

More Information | Apply Now

Contact the Admissions Office at 800-736-7744 or email NEITAdmissions@neit.edu

Derby the dog: Running on 3D Printed Prosthetics

This video will bring you to tears. I know it brought me to tears. 3D Printing continues to change both the lives of people and dogs, unlike anything before.

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.

Sheila Palmer named Assistant Professor

Sheila Palmer

Sheila Palmer

Sheila Palmer has joined the Mechanical Engineering Technology Department. She comes to NEIT from Barrington Christian Academy, where she was a Science and Math teacher and lead teacher. Sheila taught courses in Physics, Chemistry, Algebra 2, Trigonometry, PreCalculus and AP Calculus. In addition to her teaching duties, she was a student and faculty mentor as well as the founder and advisor for the school’s National Honor Society Chapter and the Student Council.

For several years, Sheila was an Assistant Professor in the Mechanical Engineering Department at the United States Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland. She mentored students, developed laboratory applications for undergraduate courses, reviewed papers for inclusion in technical publications, and edited the division newsletter for the American Society of Engineering Education. Sheila has published many articles and presented papers in her field and has received numerous grants, awards, and fellowships.

Sheila holds both a Ph.D. and a Master of Science Degree in Mechanical Engineering from the Georgia Institute of Technology, and a Bachelor of Science Degree in Mechanical Engineering from the Catholic University of America, Washington, DC.

 

Annie Unger named Instructor, Mechanical Engineering Technology

Annie Unger

Annie Unger

In March, 2014, Annie Unger was hired as a Physics instructor and has transitioned to teaching in the Mechanical Engineering Technology Department.

Annie has spent most of her professional life as a tutor or instructor. She has held several positions at NEIT, beginning as a Math tutor, then serving as an adjunct instructor to the Coordinator of Mathematics Services in the Academic Skills Center. As an adjunct instructor, Annie taught Math, Physics, and Mechanical Engineering courses before teaching full-time in the Mathematics and Sciences Department. Annie has also worked as a Mathematics Learning Specialist at Bryant University’s Academic Center for Excellence and as an Upward Bound Math Instructor and a Math Tutor/Teacher’s Assistant at the UMass Dartmouth Math and Business Center.

Annie is pursuing her Master of Arts Degree in Mathematics Teaching from Providence College. She has a Bachelor of Science Degree in Mathematics from the University of Massachusetts, Dartmouth. Annie also recently earned an Associate in Science Degree in Mechanical Engineering Technology from New England Tech along with the college’s “Best of Tech” award for her technology program.