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Robots shoot and score at Collierville High School robotics competition

February 10th, 2016 No comments

From Commercial Appeal

By Linda A. Moore
Posted: Jan. 16, 2016

Inside the varsity gym at Collierville High School Saturday, balls flew through the air, teammates cheered each other’s success, referees in striped shirts made sure everyone observed the rules and adversaries shook hands in congratulations on a game well-played.

But nobody was aiming for the high hoops.

It was the first Dragon Invitational VEX Robotics Competition.

“We have a lot of rookie teams here from Tennessee, Mississippi and Arkansas,” said Shelli Brasher, STEM (science technology, engineering and math) teacher at Collierville High.

More than 100 students made up 22 teams from 10 middle and high schools. They competed in competition in which robots shot balls into nets about four feet high, while other robots moved balls around for points.

“Part of the strategy is learning to work with the other robot to maximize the points,” Brasher said.

Drew Central High School in Monticello, Arkansas, was among those competing.

“The learning that takes place is out of this world — problem-solving, logistics. It’s amazing,” said Barbie Eubanks, a former science teacher-turned-librarian and robotics team coach.

The robots are made of metal with gears, rollers, rubber bands and wheels. Some are directed through remote control and others have been programmed by the students.

The competitors battled in “Nothing But Net,” with points earned by robots that push balls under a low goal or shoot balls into a high goal.

Throughout the day, teams were eliminated until those who advanced to the championship round created “alliances” with other teams and skillfully selected partners that would enhance the abilities of their own team.

For example, said Nicholas Perkins, 16, a junior at Southaven High School and a member of the DeSoto County Career Tech West team, his team formed an alliance with the Jackson (Tennessee) Area Robotics team, whose robot rose more than 12 inches, gaining extra points.

“You get to learn what other people can do with their robots,” he said. “And if you’re lucky, you get a plaque.”

By the end of the day, the final bracket pitted the Red Alliance — formed by teams from Brentwood Academy from Brentwood, Tennessee, and Collierville High — against the Blue Alliance, with teams from Drew Central; its neighbor, Monticello Occupational Education Cooperative, and Memphis Collegiate School.

In the best-two-out-of-three round, the robot from Brentwood quickly gobbled up balls and tossed them into the net, while Drew Central’s team fed balls to a robot that flung them with impressive accuracy.

But in the end, the Red Alliance won the day.

“I’m extremely proud of them and that they were able to do it all with their hometown team,” said Kelly Griffin, engineering teacher at Monticello Occupational.

Hank Roberson, 13, an eighth-grader at Brentwood, was thrilled with his team’s win.

“We’ve had to redo our robot three times, so this feels like the final one,” he said. “It feels like my baby.”

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Upcoming Robotics Competitions In Memphis

January 13th, 2016 No comments

Vex Dragon Robotic Invitational (VRC and VIQC) 01/16/2016 @ Collierville High School

West TN FIRST Lego League Championship 01/23/2015 @ University of Memphis, University Center Ballroom

GRAD GRIFFIN NOTHING BUT NET (VRC) 01/29/2016 @ Grad Academy

Vex Dragon Robotics Invitational 2 (VRC and VIQC) 02/20/2016 @ Collierville High School

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2014 Robot Gift Guide

March 4th, 2015 No comments
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Swiss technology, robotics company to bring 200 jobs to Memphis

March 4th, 2015 No comments

From: WMC Action News 5
Date: Mar 3, 2015

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MEMPHIS, TN (WMC)

ABB, a Swiss company that specializes in power and automation technology, announced that they will soon bring hundreds of new jobs to Memphis.

According to an ABB spokesperson, the company is investing $30 million to build a new manufacturing site in Memphis. They also plan to expand their customer experience center for the Low Voltage Products division.

ABB says the new facility will bring 200 jobs initially, with 100 more jobs added over the next five years.


From: Commercial Appeal
Date: Mar 3, 2015

Swiss industrial conglomerate ABB Ltd. plans to ramp up engineering, add 300 jobs and build a $30 million plant in Greater Memphis.

The expansion would be ABB’s first in the area since the $3.9 billion buyout three years ago of Memphis-based electrical products maker Thomas & Betts Corp.

ABB executives announced the 120,000-square-foot plant Tuesday during a trade show at Houston. A site was not identified although ABB is working to complete a deal for the property, company spokesman Harry Hurst said.

Adding 300 jobs would bring the company’s employment level in the area to 1,300, making it one of the region’s five largest manufacturers, and continue the infusion of capital in the metropolitan area by foreign manufacturers. The amount has exceeded $1.1 billion over five years.

ABB and Thomas & Betts executives were not available Tuesday for interviews.

The $30 million plant will include offices for research engineers to develop product lines. Memphis is now the headquarters for ABB’s low-voltage products business in North and South America.

The new plant will be an ABB factory, rather than named after Thomas & Betts, and will initially employ 200 including about 20 engineers and professionals in the attached research and development office, Hurst said.

ABB also plans to open what it calls a customer experience center to highlight ABB and Thomas & Betts products for customers. The center would train customers and distributors, Hurst said. The site was not identified.

Within five years of the plant’s opening, ABB expects the new facilities will hire another 100 employees, bringing the number of new workers to 300.

ABB is counting on the U.S. market for residential, office and industrial construction to improve and build demand for its products. The new plant will make ABB’s Emax2. The company calls it the world’s first integrated breaker and power manager. The plant also will make breakers, switches, power distribution systems and modular enclosures.

In a statement released by the company, Brian Herington, head of ABB’s low voltage products division in Memphis, says: “We have successfully integrated two organizations now; building on the distribution and marketing strengths of Thomas & Betts and the technology heritage of ABB.”

ABB was created in the 1988 merger of Asea AB, a Swedish electrical products company, and the Swiss engineering firm BBC Brown Boveri AG.

Thomas & Betts, formed in 1898, was moved from New Jersey to Memphis in 1992 after buying Memphis-based American Electric from New York investor Forstmann Little & Co.

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FIRST Robotics in Memphis needs Volunteers

November 11th, 2014 No comments

FIRST is a K12 robotics program founded by Dean Kamen (of Segway fame) that is designed to get kids interested in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM for short). In Memphis, there are a number of First Lego League Teams (30+), 14 First Robotics Competition teams and a few First Tech Challenge teams. All need mentors to help design, build and program robots. There is also an FLL Championship at the University of Memphis and a number of FRC Events to help the students with their robots. To find out more (including how to help out) please visit: http://memphisfirstteams.org/.

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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

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[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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The MLGW A-BLAZING RACE

August 2nd, 2013 No comments

Capture

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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: http://fll.memphisfirstteams.org/

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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 FrankN@rnsystemsdesign.com.

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: http://memphisfirstteams.org/.

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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