01 February 2014

Science Fair and Texas Torque, FIRST Robotics World Chapmions

I spent today at the a local science fair event. There are more of them spread over the next few weekends. Today's had an elementary school festival and science / math bowl competitions. Next week is the Junior High and, the week after, the Senior High Engineering Design Competition. These both involve building robots.

There was also a robotics demonstration today  and I volunteered for it, naturally. The main activity was the Texas Torque team demonstrating their robot, which won last year's FIRST World Championship. It also was one of the teams leading the Macy's Thanksgiving day parade last November. Last year's challenge was to throw Frisbees through rectangles at one end of the arena.

Not only is the robot impressive but so are the team members. I spoke with Robert and Matthew, mainly, but a couple others approached me to see if I had questions. This competition is for high-school students and, to be blunt, you have to be impressed by their poise and ability to engage with adults and children about their team and robot.

I spoke also with one of the fathers and he related how these young people had to learn to work together. They are all very smart and quite used to having correct answers. Obviously when building a robot like this all their answers cannot be correct so a big learning experience is compromising and considering other ideas.

Participating in this team provided experience in team-work that most students only get through organized sports in high school. Unfortunately in Texas that also comes with adulation that is not always beneficial. This team experience is more beneficial, I believe.

Now on to the robot...