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

RI FIRST Tech Challenge Qualifier Results from 12/5

Thank you to everyone who participated in the 1st of 3 RI FIRST Tech Challenge Qualifying Tournaments.

Congratulations to the 11 teams advancing to the state tournament.

154      Renegade                    Burrillville

252      Electric Quahogs         Wheeler School

8129    Canebots                     Warwick Veterans Memorial HS

121      Rhode Rage I              Aquidneck Island Robotics

149      Robo Hawks               Bishop Hendricken HS

652      TACT Bots                 Mt. Hope HS

7093    Raider Bots                 Shea HS

689      Avengers                     East Greenwich HS

9900    Scituate HS                 Scituate HS

3351    Tater Bots Rehashed   Mt. Hope HS

9906    SHS4                           Scituate HS

Finalist Alliance 652 TACT Bots and 154 Renegade 

Winning Alliance 252 Electric Quahogs and 121 Rhode Rage I

The Motivate Award

This Judged Award celebrates the Team that exemplifies the essence of the FIRST Tech Challenge competition and embraces the culture of FIRST while making a collective effort to make FIRST known throughout their school, and community and sparks others to embrace the culture of FIRST.

The finalists for this award:      Team 252, Electric Quahogs and Team 8129, Canebots

The Motivate Award is presented toTeam 652, TACT Bots

Rockwell Collins Innovate Award

The Rockwell Collins Innovate Award celebrates a Team that has the ingenuity and inventiveness to make their designs come to life.

The finalists for this award: Team 689, Avengers and Team 252, Electric Quahogs

The Rockwell Collins Innovate Award is presented to:  Team 8129, Canebots 

The Connect Award

The Connect Award, is presented to the Team that the Judges feel most connected with their local community, FIRST and the business world. The best Team is more than the sum of its parts, and recognizes that their schools and communities play an essential part to their success. The recipient of this Award is recognized for helping the community understand FIRST, the FIRST Tech Challenge, and the Team itself. In addition, the Team that wins this Award is aggressively seeking engineers and exploring the opportunities available in the world of engineering, science and technology.

The finalists for this award are:  Team 121, Rhode Rage I and Team 4497, Rhode Rage II

The Connect Award is presented to:  Team 7093, Raiderbots 

The Think Award

The Think Award is given to the Team that the Judges feel best reflects the journey the team took as they experienced the engineering design process during the build season. The Engineering Notebook is the key reference for Judges to help them identify the most deserving Team. This Teams Engineering Notebook focused on the design and build stages of the Teams robot and exemplified their journey as a team and engineers.

The finalists for this award:  Team 8129, Canebots  and Team 252, Electric Quahogs

The Think Award is presented to:   Team 149, RoboHawks 

The Inspire Award

The Inspire Award is given to the Team that the Judges felt truly embodied the challenge of the FTC program. The Team that receives this award is a strong ambassador for FIRST programs and works to promote FIRST and make it loud in their community. The Team that receives this Award has performed well in all Judging categories and was chosen by the Judges as a model FIRST Tech Challenge Team on and off the playing field. The Judges used Match performance, observations made during interviews and in the pit area, the Teams Engineering Notebook, and performance on the playing field in determining the winner.

The finalists for this award:  In Second Place: Team 8129, Canebots and in Third Place: Team 252, Electric Quahogs

The Inspire Award is presented to: Team 154, Renegade

Thank you for all you do for RI students!

Attention Robotics Enthusiasts!

17-FIRSTIt’s time for middle and high school students who are interested in the STEM disciplines (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) to form a FIRST® (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) Tech Challenge robotics team through their school, civic group, home school or after-school program. The 2015-2016 FIRST® Kick-Off will be held on Saturday, September 12th, from 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. at New England Tech’s East Greenwich campus, located at One New England Tech Blvd. The theme for this year’s competition will be announced at that time.

This year marks the tenth season that New England Tech has served as the sponsor and host for this exciting robotics competition. Students involved in FIRST® learn how science and technology play a key role in the real world while gaining important life skills such as critical thinking, problem solving, communication and teamwork. New this season, teams will be using a new robot control system that utilizes Android devices and Java.  For more information, please visit www.usfirst.org

This year’s FIRST® state tournament will be held on Saturday, January 30, 2016, at NEIT’s Center for Automotive Technology, 101 Access Road, Warwick, RI.  Last year, 48 teams participated. The goal is to increase that number to 55 teams for the upcoming season. All middle and high school teams interested in participating in the state tournament must first compete in one of four pre-qualifier mini competitions to be held on November 7th, November 14th, December 5th and December 19th at NEIT’s East Greenwich campus.

Erin Flynn, NEIT’s Manager of Admissions Outreach and Events, serves as Rhode Island’s FIRST® Tech Challenge Affiliate Partner. She may be reached at 401-739-5000, ext. 3462 or at eflynn@neit.edu for more information.

RI robot maker building a bridge over workforce skills gap

New England Institute of Technology’s (NEIT) NEW Associate Degree program in Advanced Manufacturing Technology has been developed in conjunction with companies like Yushin America to address a critical need for its workforce.

The new Advanced Manufacturing Technology degree, as part of NEIT’s Bachelor’s degree in Manufacturing Engineering Technology, is designed to assist employers in hiring individuals with the right skills. Yushin America in Cranston, RI, has hired more than 60 NEIT graduates of the Manufacturing Engineering Technology program.

From Providence Journal:

Tom Gilbride, an automation and robotic technician, teaches and aligns a robot at the Yushin plant in Cranston. Governor Raimondo last month spotlighted the company as an example of advanced manufacturing — the high-tech, high-end descendant of the manufacturing that sustained Rhode Island for centuries before yielding to overseas competition. The Providence Journal/Mary Murphy

Nicholas Salcedo, a robotics technician at Yushin, an advanced manufacturer in Cranston, gets a robotic arm ready to run specified actions before it is shipped to a company in Texas to be integrated into that company’s automation. The Providence Journal/Mary Murphy

 

Rhode Islanders may do a double-take when they hear Governor Raimondo talk about manufacturing as a key to reviving the economy and creating jobs.

After all, isn’t manufacturing all about the past? Doesn’t she see all those closed brick factories?  Didn’t manufacturing jobs peak in the 1940s, and haven’t they been sliding ever since?

But Raimondo is talking about a different type of manufacturing, called advanced manufacturing, that produces precise, engineered-to-order, high-end products for the medical-device, defense, aerospace and other industries.

This manufacturing is all about the future, and it pays middle-income wages.

But she pointed out they are not the low-skill manufacturing jobs of the past, but newer, advanced manufacturing jobs that require highly trained workers. Rhode Island should be primed to take advantage.

“We need the skills to fill the jobs that are our opportunity,” she said.

After Raimondo visited the Yushin America facility in Cranston last month to outline her plan to create jobs and revamp the state’s workforce training system, I talked with Michael Greenhalgh, operations director at Yushin.

He said Yushin, a unit of Yushin Precision Equipment Co. Ltd. of Japan, is completing a $2-million expansion and wants to hire 14 more workers. Some would be at a starting pay of $12 to $13 an hour. Others would be paid about $50,000 a year.

But, Greenhalgh can’t find workers with the skills he needs.

But the real answer is more qualified candidates coming out of the vocational and technical schools or colleges, or better training of workers who are in transition from declining industries.

It’s a good idea, but I don’t think Rhode Island can wait years for a regional solution.

State leaders should already be working to figure out how to close the skills gap.

The state has fallen behind its neighbors in advanced manufacturing. But with the right focus and commitment, there’s no reason it can’t catch up and overtake its competitors.

Manufacturing, an old industry that’s retooling for the future, deserves a solid second look.

Source: John Kostrzewa: R.I. robot maker building a bridge over workforce skills gap – News – providencejournal.com – Providence, RI

 

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

More Information | Apply Now

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

National Robotics Week: igus Celebrates with Robot Block Party

We will be there.  Will you?

From Design News:

At the end of this week, which is National Robotics Week 2015, igus will celebrate by exhibiting at the Rhode Island Robot Block Party. The plastic bearings leader — which also makes cables, cable carriers, linear bearings, and linear guides — will demonstrate its robot-related products at the event and provide robot giveaways to lucky winners during the event on Saturday, April 11.

The second-annual Robot Block Party will take place at Brown University’s Pizzitola Sports Center, between 12 p.m. and 4 p.m. The event is free and open to the public. It’s hosted by the Rhode Island School of the Future and the Humanity Centered Robotics Initiative at Brown. The non-profit Rhode Island Students of the Future uses youth robotics to engage young people in science, technology, engineering, math (STEM) and manufacturing through youth robotics.

More than 50 hands-on exhibits, demonstrations, and displays will be available at the party from schools, universities, companies, and non-profit organizations around the area, including Brown, the New England Institute of Technology, and Hasbro’s Animatronics Lab. Although this is a STEM event, all ages are welcome. The demonstrations and exhibit are focused on helping everyone, not just kids, discover how robots are being used in education, toy design, and manufacturing. You can find out more about the event and register for free tickets here.

Design News – STEM Connection – igus Celebrates National Robotics Week at the Robot Block Party.

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.