Saturday, April 26, 2008

Robotics @ Javits in NYC & a FLL Perfect Score...

April, one could say was Robotics Month in NYC. Starting the first weekend with the FIRST competitions at the Jacob Javits Center. Upon entering the Javits Center, one could hear the action pack description of the Commentator, up beat music playing in the background, the roar of the crowd in the jam-pack bleaches, and the cheers of school cheerleaders and one might be visualizing a sporting event with athletes accomplishing great physical feats. However, this event was a sporting event of the mind; where science, math, and technology are celebrated and teams of young robotic engineers are cheered for awesome robots that they built. For three days, young people from grade 4 through high school showed off their talents competing in FIRST NYC FLL (FIRST LEGO® League) Expo, FTC (FIRST Tech/VEX® Competition), & FRC (FIRST Robotics Competition).

64 teams competed in the FRC; coming from NYC, Westchester, NJ, LI, and a team from England. For the first time in NYC, in the FTC 49 teams from NYC, Westchester, LI, NJ, Mass. and even Canada competed with VEX® robots. In the FLL Expo 50 teams from NYC, Westchester, LI, NJ, and PA competed with the winning team, The Cyberbots of Brics~2~Bots, scoring a perfect score of 400.

Among the spectators viewing this spectacular event was Dean Kamen, Founder of FIRST and inventor of the HomeChoice-The first portable kidney dialysis machine, first portable insulin pump, Independence 3000 IBOT Transporter (a wheelchair that can climb stairs & rough terrain), and the Segway Human Transporter. Also, NYC’s mayor the Honorable Mayor Blumberg and NYC DOE’s Chancellor Klein were there to acknowledge FIRST and offer their support to the teams.

The following weekend, on April 12th Vision Ed hosted the first Robofest at the SONY Wonder Technology Lab, SONY Plaza Public Arcade. Youngsters ages 6-12 showed off robotic inventions & dancing robots.

During the weekend of April 19-20th Lyndhurst Mansion Historic Site in Tarrytown, NY sponsored its second LEGO Fun at Lynhurst event. LEGO models by LEGO fans of all ages were displayed in the beautiful 1838 Gothic Revival mansion overlooking the Hudson River. Master LEGO Builder, Arthur Gugick was there with his magnificent models. Representing LEGO robotics were several robotics teams from the Lower Hudson Valley, the Bronx, and the Cyberbots from Queens.

Friday, April 25, 2008

Hail, believers of LEGO® technology & robotics…

This blog is basically about my adventures in the Realm of Robotics, as well as, imparting information on LEGO® & Tech/VEX® robotics. It will be for the educator teaching robotics in the elementary through high schools, as well as, for the hobbyist; of which I am both. There will be information about FIRST®, RoboCupJr, & other robotics events (mostly in the New York City & surrounding areas).

Why robotics? Think about it – robotics is a estimated to be over a 500 billion dollar emerging industry. Its impact is liken to the effect of mass production on the industrial revolution and computers on the information age. From an educator’s point of view, it’s a challenge, it’s hands-on, project-based, it’s learning in action; that encompasses various subject areas. From a hobbyist point of view, it’s a challenge, it’s hands-on, it can be a form of life-long learning, and more importantly – it’s FUN!

-V. Greene