Device Solutions Supports School Robotics Teams

Device Solutions Supports School Robotics Teams

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The best way to predict the future is to invent it. –Alan Kay (1940-Present)

 

 

LEGOs and Robots and Competitions … Oh My!

For those of you familiar with LEGO, you might agree that LEGOs were one of the first inexpensive reconfigurable prototyping tool sets (given the ease and variety of assembling the various blocks). Later on, LEGO introduced motors and batteries, and then sensors, programming, MCU LEGO modules, and much much more.  Now schools are using LEGOs for robotics competitions – and Device Solutions is excited to be a sponsor.

The complexity and promise of autonomous robots has been a seductive pursuit to engineers and scientists ranging from the most sophisticated experts to the most novice beginners. The concept that a simple chassis with a small number of instructions can do something constructive, can run unattended, and can possibly learn to do things better with enough iterations – well it’s hard to resist. It’s the real world equivalent to creating life and having pride in the thing that it is created. This allure is not lost on young students like those at East Cary Middle School in the relatively new but rapidly growing robotics club.

 

 

East Cary Middle School Robotics Club

The East Cary Middle School Robotics Club consists of 6th, 7th, and 8th graders from East Cary Middle School.  There are about 25 kids, split into 5 teams.  Two of the teams, composed of mostly the upperclassmen, work with the more advanced Lego VEX robots (http://www.vexrobotics.com/).  The other 3 teams are the beginner-intermediate students work with the Lego EV3 robots (http://dsin.co/ev3kits).  The EV3 teams are evenly split between boys and girls.  All 5 teams participate in competitions at the local, regional, and state levels, programming their robots to complete various tasks surrounding a seasonal “theme”.  VEX robots compete in the VEX league.  EV3 robots compete in the First Lego League (FLL) (http://dsin.co/flllego) .

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The East Cary Middle School teacher that is mentoring the club is Ms. Sydelle Snyder.  She is a 6th grade science/math teacher with Wake County schools and new to the club this year.   The club meets once day a week for a couple of hours after school to work with the robots and to prepare for competitions – the robotics element and the “business plan” element. Competitions are held around the state and at the national level. The teachers, students, parents typically attend and staff the events – and they could always use more help and support. For example, at least one of the EV3 team members had been wanting to join a Lego robot club since 4th grade, when one was started in his elementary school – but the limited resources of the school and mentors meant there were too few slots for all the applicants and so he had to wait until 6th grade to get into a robotics club.  The motivation for the participants? If you ask the kids, they all want to go to the state finals.  If you ask Ms. Snyder, she is focused on providing a great learning experience for the kids, and foster an appreciation of STEM.

 

Enter Sponsors

Device Solutions has always been a big proponent of promoting science, engineering, mathematics, innovation, and solving important problems. FIRST and STEM activities, clubs, and competitions embody the kind of teamwork and problem solving that resonates with the founders and team members of Device Solutions.   So, when the students asked for support, Bob, Chris and Keith immediately agreed to help support the club’s efforts. Surprisingly, or maybe not too suprising, Lego robots are expensive.  An EV3 robot is over $500, and registering in the First Lego League for all of the competitions and scrimmages is even more expensive.  You can imagine the expenses and commitments involved in the more advanced robots and competitions. Thus, the club recruited Device Solutions and some other companies to help sponsor their activities – and it has made a significant impact on their ability to compete.

Go team!

 

About Device Solutions

Device Solutions is an engineering firm located in Research Triangle Park, North Carolina. We offer feasibility studies, embedded hardware and software design and development, industry and carrier certifications and approvals, deployment services, and manufacturing support.  As a virtual R&D department for companies of all sizes, we have broad experience in the building of electronic devices for the vertical marketplace including medical, asset tracking, remote monitoring and control, consumer electronics, home and office automation, and utilities. Device Solutions is a testing and certification center for FCC, UL, Bluetooth, and cellular carriers. We identify the required certifications and approvals and test the high-risk parametrics. Device Solutions is an end-to-end provider of cellular data services for M2M, and are widely considered experts in sensors and mesh networking.