Archive for the ‘Memphis Robotics’ Category

Local Team Places in MS BEST Robot Compeition

October 27th, 2013 No comments

From Evangelical Christian School Website
SWAT Places in BEST Competition!
Posted: October 23, 2013

Mississippi Boosting Engineering Science and Technology (BEST) is designed to inspire and interest students in engineering, science, and technology through participation in an exciting sports-like technology contest. The BEST competition motivates students by challenging them to build a remote-controlled robot that accomplishes a defined task within a competitive setting.

On Wednesday, August 28, 2013, Lydia Allison presented Barrett Luketic and ECS SWAT (Students Working to Advance Technology) team administrators with the idea and opportunity to compete in the Mississippi BEST Competition this year. After the meeting, Coach Burton, SWAT team sponsor, garnered the interest of the team members and parents and the journey began. Kick-off day of the competition was September 7, 2013, at the Raspet Flight Center in Starkville, MS. SWAT team members and coaches learned about the theme of the competition, Gatekeeper, and received a box of random materials, a few pieces of plywood, and some PVC pipes to build a robot. Immediately, brains were technologically activated and on a mission to complete the task at hand. The team was given a time frame of six weeks from the kick-off day to design and program a robot that could technically build a computer according to the rules of the game. At the end of the six weeks, the team competed in Game Day.

The ECS SWAT team faced multiple difficulties in developing a design and strategy for the robot. After gaining a clear understanding of the concept of the competition, team members began to modify and improve their strategy. When the plan was completed, they began to brainstorm ideas about the robot’s design. After a few weeks of constructive criticism, headaches, celebrating, working, mechanical brain overload, and far too much pizza, the SWAT team created the SWAT BOT.

Preview Day of the competition was held at the Raspet Flight Center on October 12, one week before Game Day. Teams were allowed to bring their robot design to the actual competition game field and practice. The SWAT team and SWAT BOT traveled to Starkville for Preview Day and gained some essential practice time on the field. The SWAT team learned more performance information about their robot from this experience and it also exposed the need for some minor modifications to be made. This practice time later proved to be beneficial to the team’s performance on Game Day.

Game Day arrived. On Friday evening, October 18, teams’ robots had to pass a compliance check, and they were allowed practice time on the game field. On Saturday morning, October 19, the SWAT team competed in the Mississippi BEST 2013 Robotics Competition. Throughout the preliminary rounds of the competition, the SWAT team competed well and, as a “rookie” team, astonished the competitors. The SWAT team finished the preliminary rounds in third place, performing like a veteran club. The SWAT team fiercely competed in the semi-finals, retained their third place effort, and advanced to the finals. They strongly competed in the finals and finished fourth overall out of 24 teams. The SWAT team showed that regardless of experience, through persistence, teamwork and dedication, anything is possible.

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Desoto 4-H robotics team Bound for Indiana Contest

August 22nd, 2013 No comments

From Commercial Appeal
by Henry Bailey Jr
Aug 21, 2013

[Stan Carroll / The Commercial Appeal]

The DeSoto 4-H Robotineers robotics club’s high school-age team-champs in Mississippi competition in May – are getting the gears meshing to secure financial help to attend the Sept. 28-0ct. 2 national tourney at Purdue University in Indiana.

The four-member team and its sponsor, 4-H agent Jessica Lindsey, are half-way toward their goal of raising about $2,SOO to send them to West Lafayette. Meanwhile, the youth program’s robotics activity is going and growing in the county.

An appeal by Lindsey and team member Nathan Rodgers, a Hernando home-schooler, to the Board of Supervisors brought a $1,000 allocation from the county’s fund for advertising county resources. Added to that is about $550 already raised from donations from Rotary, Country Ford and the Pickering engineering firm.

“We’re the pilot program from Mississippi going to this competition,” Lindsey said.

“It’s been a great way to learn about teamwork, and it makes math and science part of the fun, a challenging game,” Nathan added.

The other teen members are Renee Anderson of Hernando High, Rebecca Robinson of Lewisburg High and Audrey Johnson, a Hernando High graduate who’s now a Northwest Mississippi Community College freshman in Senatobia.

Supervisors expressed fascination with robotics and teenage potential.

“This is the field of the future,” said Supervisor Lee Caldwell of Nesbit.

The DeSoto schools educator made Monday’s motion to allocate the funds after Dr. Joy Anderson, director of Mississippi State University Extension’s DeSoto office, which oversees 4-H, said robotics is a relatively new program and isn’t a line item on the 4-H budget.

Robotics at 4-H is on a roll: “We have an average of 30 at our meetings in Hernando,” said Lindsey. “And there’ll be a new robotics club starting soon in Olive Branch,” she said.

Robotics, underway for about five years now, is among the many activities in 4-H for youths ages 8-18.

For information, contact Lindsey at 662-429-1343.

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August 2nd, 2013 No comments


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Memphis FLL Event a Huge Success

December 9th, 2012 No comments

Yesterday, 26 teams from around the region gathered at the University of Memphis for the Western TN First Lego League Pilot Championship.

This years theme was Senior Solutions and the students had to build a robot that ran missions based on the theme as well a research and propose a solution to a problem seniors face every day. The teams did a great job in both the robots and the solutions proposed.

The event was sponsored by the TN Society of Professional Engineers and the University of Memphis. With special thanks to the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers (Memphis Professional Section and the University Student Branch) and the many volunteer who made the event a success!

For more information:

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A lot going on with robotics in Memphis

September 6th, 2012 No comments

This is going to be a very busy year for robotics in Memphis:

First Lego League (for students ages 9-14) just announced their competition for the year. This year’s theme is “Senior Solutions“. I know their are many teams forming in the Memphis Area, especially since we now have a competition in Memphis. The competition will take place at the University of Memphis on Dec 8, 2012. For more info on the event goto: . If you are interested in starting a team contact Frank Niedzwiedz at

First Tech Challenge‘s kick off is this Saturday. The closest kick off event is hosted by the University of Mississippi. As far as I know, this is the first year Memphis has teams competing in FTC.

As for First Robotics Competition (FRC), there might be as many as 11 teams in Memphis this year. The University of Memphis will again host a Kick Off Event and other activities associated with FRC. For more info please see:

Still looking for teams in Memphis that will be competing in B.E.S.T. this year (so if you know of a team, please let me know).

All the teams I know about are listed HERE

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Local Roboticist on TV

July 26th, 2012 No comments

Today Davis Fortenberry (who I told you about in March [See Post]) was on Nickelodeon’s “Figure It Out” trying to stump the panel and also demonstrating his robot. Not only did a 10 year old beat college students in a robotics competition, he was on national TV and GOT SLIMED!

Here is the episode (he is in the 2nd half):

Figure it Out: "Pedal Pull & Robotics" S1
Get More: Figure It Out Episodes,Figure It Out,Figure It Out Games

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1st FTC Team in Memphis Announced

July 26th, 2012 No comments

The Memphis area now has a registered First Tech Challenge team! FTC Team 5952 “Reapers Robotics” is associated with Boy Scout Troop 45 up in Arlington. For more info, see their website at

So now Memphis has teams in all 3 robotics competitions held by US First

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Bring Me the Head of Philip K. Dick

May 25th, 2012 No comments

Bring Me the Head of Philip K. Dick
How a creative team of scientists and academics from Memphis created – and lost – an android superstar.

In this week’s Memphis Flyer there is an article about the android head build at the University of Memphis and was lost returning from a trip.

Link to Article

More on Philip K Dick Android

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K-12 Website

May 8th, 2012 No comments

Looking for STEM Education ideas, see

This is a website to find and share STEM education ideas. It is sponsored by NI (the makers of LabVIEW and the NXT Software) so it has a lot of stuff on Robotics!

Another website with some NXT stuff on it is from UofM’s own GEE (Girls Experiencing Engineering) Website at

And from the above, my favorite link:

LEGO gives young engineers a leg up

April 10th, 2012 No comments

By Raina Hanna / Special to DeSoto Appeal (Commercial Appeal)
Posted April 4, 2012 at midnight

Cooper Jordan and Ana Le, third-graders in Overpark Elementary School’s Spotlight program, had played with LEGO building kits before but never ones that moved on their own.

But a day of building with LEGO basic motorized kits Tuesday was just the precursor to what the class will experience in the fall when they move up to a classroom set of LEGO Mindstorms.

“Our principal had a company bring in these kits for the day as a reward for the students raising $3,000 to purchase a Mindstorms classroom set that we will have ready to use in the fall,” said teacher Michelle Kinggard.

LEGO Mindstorms allow users to not only build things that move but functioning robots that can respond to light, sound and touch and can be programmed to do a variety of tasks.

The kits the students used Tuesday were part of a program brought into the school by All About Learning Inc. Students were paired up and given the task of building a vehicle capable of challenging vehicles built by their classmates in a battle arena.

Each team was given instructions to construct the vehicle base. Then it was up to the students to decide what weapons, armor and other feature to add. Decisions can be difficult, as students must problem-solve to ensure the vehicle has the ability to both take hits and deal them out.

The first vehicle to lose a LEGO block loses.

“The battle bot kits are kind of an intermediate step, before the Mindstorms,” Kinggard said.

Cooper and Ana set their sights on building a vehicle that would be the most structurally sound.

“I played with LEGOs a lot,” Cooper said. “But these are the first that I’ve used that actually move on their own.”

Often, robotics programs that include materials like LEGO Mindstorms are introduced to students at the middle or high school level. However, Kinggard said more elementary schools are embracing these teaching tools to get students interested in engineering at a young age.

“It’s all a part of STEM — Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics education,” she said. “We already teach science and math, and these kids use technology every day, but it’s harder for them to be exposed to engineering.”

Ana, who wants to be a fashion designer, said activities like these make her reconsider.

“I like building things. I don’t know, I might consider doing something that combines fashion and architecture, maybe even be an architect,” she said.

Cooper hasn’t yet decided on a career path. He said he knows he has plenty of time. For now, he’s more focused on learning everything the school has to offer, especially when it comes to engineering.

“I can’t wait until next year when we build real robots. These are really great, but next year it’ll be so much better,” he said.

Overpark Elementary’s spotlight/gifted program has 78 students. It is co-taught by Kinggard and Allison Hopkins and includes students from second through fifth grade, with each grade having its own class period.

In second grade, the winning battle bot was designed by Gavin Taylor and Dylan Barnette. Third-grade winners were Kristen Oswalt and Rachel Reid. Fourth-grade winners were Joey Miron and Dru Hines. Peyton Thornburg and Ian McGinnes were the winners in the fifth-grade class.

For more information visit their website at

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