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14 Nov 2012: FIRST Robotics Competition

by Communications Team on November 25, 2012  •   Print This Post Print This Post   •   

Erik DeVito, INCOSE-CC Programs Director, poses with the Robo-Lions Team #2199

By Mark Kaczmarek, Secretary, Chesapeake Chapter INCOSE

I recall when I was in high school, being amazed about building a Go Cart using a second hand lawn mower engine and baby coach wheels.
Now, zoom ahead with the Jetsons. Today’s world has high school students building and running robots!
The November dinner presentation covered the FIRST program that was started by the Segway inventor, Dean Kamen. Dean was concerned that engineering graduates did not have enough practical experience upon exiting college. Dean created 4 different levels and the highest is the high school aged participants.
The Robo-Lions are Liberty high school students from Eldersburg, MD. Team #2199 has designed & built and also competed against other robotic teams across the nation.
The description by team mentor, Wayne Fuller, showed the path from reviewing requirements all the way through the building and deployment of their robot creation. The students did not realize that they were covering the standard Systems Engineering flow for project development. The students learned at the dinner meeting that they had been performing Systems Integration of all the various sub-components of their robot and following ICDs (Interface Control Documents) that each sub-system team followed in order to put together the machine’s parts seamlessly. Abi Fuller, Robo-Lions team lead, provided an excellent description of the trials and tribulations of the trade-offs and design and construction issues. Good coodination and team leadership was shown throughout the several months that the team worked on the robot.
The evening was topped off by a live demonstration of the basketball shooting robot, which could actually operate in autonomous mode, as required by the competition, as well as being directed by a wireless controller to gather basketballs and shoot them into hoops on a special robot arena.
This was truly one of the more memorable INCOSE events to see all the enthusiasm of the young and old with their robot design.

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