Another FIRST Tech Challenge (FTC) season is here! Today, the 2012-13 FTC game “Ring It Up” was unveiled. Teams have been highly anticipating the kickoff, and now is time to brainstorm and learn new skills, especially with this new unlimited raw materials rule.
During summer of 2012, Landroids was very busy, as usual. Our team met over the summer almost every single day until just a few weeks before the FTC kickoff.
Upon our return from the FTC World Championship in April, the Landroids invited 3 FIRST Robotics Competition (FRC) teams to do a robot showcase at Liberty Science Center on May 12, 2012. FRC Teams 11 MORT, 75 RoboRaiders and 714 Panthera brought their “Logo Motion” and “Rebound Rumble” FRC robots for a play date with our much smaller sized “Bowled Over” FTC robot. We invented our own games to do different missions while entertaining the guests. If anyone wonders how to mix and match different FRC and FTC robots from different seasons to play together, just take a look at this video.
On Memorial Day weekend, May 26, 2012, Landroids and Livingston Robotics Club hosted our 3rd annual outdoor carnival style Jr. FIRST LEGO League Expo. 13 Jr. FLL teams were invited to show their “Snack Attack” projects. As usual, it was fun-filled day with an added enrichment session presented by Mad Science. In addition, there was a sluice of family-friendly carnival rides and things to do. We also teamed up with our local food bank to do a town-wide “Stuff the Bus” food drive next to our Expo tent.
In June, right after school was over, half of our team taught an Android App class at the Real World Connections summer program at NJIT. The other half of the team worked in an US Army internship to develop a personal glaucoma testing device in the BioPhysics Department at NJIT. Yes, the Landroids has completed our “Senior Solutions” project in the summer with a patentable innovative idea.
In July, our team was invited by Essex County Board of Chosen Freeholders to present our Inspire Award winning “Bowled Over” robot. When we drove our robot, everyone in the court room stood up from their seats to take a good look. We received a proclamation certificate from the Freeholders and much appreciation from the County officials for promoting interest in STEM education in our community.
Toward the end of July, the Landroids was busy viewing a bunch of MoonBots 2012 Phase 1 entry videos, picking our favorites, and enjoying all the creativity that MoonBots teams were demonstrating. The overall quality in presentation and video editing techniques exhibited a big improvement since Landroids’ MoonBots days.
Meanwhile, on July 28, 2012, the Landroids hosted a special workshop specially for FLL teams that are graduating to FTC, and new FTC teams. This all-day summer workshop presented an introduction to FTC;covered aspects such as team startup and team management; gave tips on robot construction, programming, PTC and electronics designs, and discussed scouting and fundraising. We met a lot of new teams and coaches, and we hope to build a long term mentoring relationship with them all. (For the 7-part series PowerPoint files, click here).
On August 7, 2012, we wrapped up our 2nd summer of NJIT summer internships with a public showcase at Liberty Science Center. We then followed our team tradition to conclude an event with a team dinner, then we watched The Dark Knight Rises in Liberty Science Center’s IMAX dome. It was a treat for months of hard work.
In mid August, we finally managed to squeeze in an alliance play date with one of our FTC World Championship alliance teams, Cougar Robotics 4251 from Ohio. Both teams met in Pittsburgh, PA for a weekend. While there, we joined forces to put on a FTC outreach on August 19, 2012 at Energy Consol as part of the pilot Explorer Series, sponsored by the Pittsburgh Penguins Foundation, to introduce young children to the world of robotics. Both teams also did a lot of eating, sightseeing and Frisbee playing, truly appreciated the time spent together outside of the competitions.
The rest of August was devoted to finishing up summer homework, independent research projects, and taking some family vacations. After not physically seeing each other for 3 weeks, we were all excited and happy to be with our team again today at the kickoff.
So here it is, our 6th season together as the Landroids. Ring It Up, bring it on!