July 23 Robot Coaches Blog

In BUTODAY there is a nice new article about the new College of Engineering specialization in Robotics.  BU does a lot of work with drones and quadcopters.

CAD Workshop:  This coming Monday at 7PM at 15 Saint Mary’s Street.  Please sign up in advance on the doodle: http://doodle.com/7c6qu29rt45mh34c

Tech Savvy Success: We gave a nice workshop last week to the girls from Tech Savvy.  Photos on the way. 

VEX Work: I was very pleased to see the great condition of the lab!  This is the kind of cleaned up lab which makes me happy!  Things are looking better and I will now order some toys.  Let us try and keep up with the engineering notebook and use the forum to document our work!  Many thanks to Nell, Evelyn, Courtney and whoever else helped to clean up the lab!

Comms issues on Scorpion:  After our last demo we realized we had some serious comms issues.  Many thanks to Dave, Paul, and Michael for getting Scorpion ready for our upcoming demonstrations.  It is on the list to get a new laptop for running the FRC robot.

Artemis demonstration:We have a Scorpion demo for the Artemis camp on Tuesday July 28 at 2PM.  Meet up at the lab.

Tour of the GE Aviation: The GE Aviation tour will be Friday August 7th.  Please, fill out this doodle  if you want to attend. Again, only US citizens (including green card holders) are able to attend. At this plant, we design/assemble/test F404 engine, F414 engine, T700 engine (Apache and Blackhawk), new presidential helicopter, and many more!  Sign up ASAP!  This will be a fun group field trip. Alums are welcome too.

Schedule:
10 am Security Badges
10:30-12 Presentations
12-1 Lunch
1-2:30 tours

Boston Scientific Demo: We will have a tent we are sharing with FRC 4905 (Andromeda 1) and some FLL teams.  August 18th from 8AM to 2PM.  Boston Scientific has been a great sponsor for us and we really want to give back to them!  You should have received a G-calendar invite to this event.  We need to get names soon for badging purposes.

Boston Green Fest: Friday August 21st or Saturday August 22nd Scorpion demo: We have done this several times.  This might also be a good opportunity to clear out our remaining inventory of FIRST LED Light Bulbs.

Boston Children’s Museum TinkerTent on Sunday August 23rd.  It promises to be a whole lot of fun, with thousands of families filtering through and seeing our great work.  This year we will be joined by the MIT Media Lab, Einstein’s Workshop, The Design Museum, The Revolving Museum, Boston Center for the Arts, The Eliot School and more organizations.

BU FIRST Calender: Now that BUA students have official BU google email accounts I will be using g-calender to schedule our meetings and demos.  Please respond to your invites.

July 18th Robotics Coach’s Blog

U Design: We just finished a great two weeks helping out with College of Engineering U-Design Camp.  Divya, Neil, Nimish, Max, Buzy, and Simon were a great help as assistant teachers!   Many thanks to Jordan and Lenny for giving a great tour and a demo with our Scorpion.   Our new head of school, Ari Betof stopped by on the last day to say hello.

photo

MassPep: The MassPep program this summer has been going well, teaching LEGO Robotics at Roxbury Community College.  If any of our younger students would like to help with this let me know.

VEX: We will keep meeting on Sundays and Wednesdays to do work on our VEX robots.  The new VEX playing field materials are ready to order as soon as we have finished cleaning and organizing the lab. Also a reminder for our entering freshmen, that until you have received safety training you are not allowed to use the power tools.

CAD: We are continuing to learn Computer Aided Design on Monday evenings thanks to the mentorship of Sam Duffley.

Tech Savvy: On Monday morning, July 20 we are doing a LEGO NXT robotics workshop for the Tech Savvy Camp.  We will be building the NXT Tassiebots on Sunday.  We will be meeting in Photonics 113 with the campers and can use some more help.

We have been asked to do a demo for a north shore science camp on Tuesday July 21.  If we can get the comms back online for Scorpion it would be great to do this.

Demo for Artemis Camp: We have a Scorpion demo for the Artemis camp on Tuesday July 28 in the afternoon.

Boston Scientific Demo: Tues Aug 18th: We have a full day demo scheduled our at Boston Scientific on August 18th and I am collecting volunteers for this event.

Boston Greenfest is coming Fri Aug 21 and Sat Aug 22 and we have a demo opportunity there.

The Tinkerfaire is at the Boston Children’s Museum on Sunday Aug 23 and again we have been asked to demo Scorpion from 11 AM to 4 pm.

U-Design Flight School Monday

We had a great first day in U-Design’s Flight School.

We began the day by having every student making a paper airplanes.  Although this might sound simple, the challenge is to see whose plane can stay aloft the longest time or the longest distance.  The hope being that by the end of the week, as the students’ understanding of aeronautics develops, so will the performance of their planes.

We then build White Wing Racer.  This are high end paper airplanes with a balsa wood core.  They are designed by a professional engineer and when launched with a rubber band can stay aloft for over a minute.  You can by a White Wing for about $5.

Next we build Guillow Sky Streak.  Guillow is actually a local company.  They are well known for selling promotional foam glider airplanes in addition to the rubber band balsa wood airplanes.  Although the planes we build today are a simple 5 step kit, we will modify them as the week goes on and design our own planes.

We next began working on the Guillow Cadet Planes.  This is a very complex plane which will take easily three days to build.  Following the directions is critically important.  Many students gloss over the directions, and will make mistakes (but we learn from our mistakes).

Morning Lab Tour to visit Professor Jason Ritt from biomedical engineering.  Professor Ritt is investigating sensory perception.  My own son, Alejandro is taking U Design this summer.  Alejandro wanted to know if they could develop tools to create Daredevil, which by coincidence I just started watching on Netflix.

We had a few brief lectures today on the physics of Flight and basic Aerodynamics.

We had a special guess lecture today from Jeff Ventola who is the developed of the Wicked Wing Flying Thing.   He is a local inventor who invented a new type of frisbee that can easily be thrown over a football field in length.  I read about Jeff in the local newspaper.  You can buy his flying disc online.

On the other half of U-Design, Alejandro really enjoyed himself in Robo Alley, and was excited to start learning to program in C.

 

Jan 8 Robotics Blog

I have had LEGO Mindstorms on my mind a lot. I spent a couple hours on my front porch this evening talking to Lester, the coach for We Are Robo, the #3 FLL team in the USA and the #10 team in the world! You really should watch this video of the We Are Robo FLL Robot.

This week we started teaching in the two summer camps the team works with. Nell W. and Abby C. are teaching LEGO NXT Mindstorms Robotics for the Mass Preengineering Program at Roxbury Community College. Several BUA students are helping to teach NXT Robotics and Electronics for the BU College of Engineering in the U-Design Summer Workshop. Both of these programs will continue next week and I will be teaching the Flight School workshop.

VEX: We will continue to meet Wednesdays at 5PM and Sundays at 2PM building VEX robots at the lab.

Tech Savvy Workshop July 20th 9am – 12:30 pm. Teach Programming skills to middle school aged girls using Lego Mindstorms NXTs. Doodle (Only fill out the July 20th spot)

Tour of the GE Aviation: We are rescheduling the GE Aviation tour! Please, fill out this doodle so that we know what date works best for everyone. Again, only US citizen (including green card holders) are able to attend. At this plant, we design/assemble/test F404 engine, F414 engine, T700 engine (Apache and Blackhawk), new presidential helicopter, and many more!

Schedule:
10 am Security Badges
10:30-12 Presentations
12-1 Lunch
1-2:30 tours
Boston Scientific Demo: August 18th from 8 am – 2 pm we have a demo at bring your kids to work day at Boston Scientific. I most likely cannot attend and we need to send out a doodle to make sure we will have enough kids there. Here is a Doodle created for the Boston Scientific demo if you want to include it in the announcements. http://doodle.com/mxw23ygceh7barn7

 

In the News:

Lovebirds’ flight skills could inspire Navy drone developers: You have to love the title of that article from the San Franscisco Chronicle. At BU we have been studying the physics of several animals in order to make better airborne robots. It seems that Lovebirds are able to turn their heads in flight faster than anything alive!

New Pictures of Pluto: The New York Times Summer of Science has a great article on Pluto and all the new pictures that Horizon is taking. The same article also has a nice snippit on the Solar Powered Plane. Which that plane just landed in Hawaii according to the AP.

Curiosity’s Wheel Damage: There is a nice article on Space.com about the wheel damage on my favorite Martian robot.

Robotics Taxi Cabs: The Washington Post reports that robot taxi cabs could reduce vehicle emissions. The Post article seemed to imply that people would not want to ride these slower but environmentally conscious cars. But the Christian Science Monitor says they will cost less. Hey, if it can beat Uber, then maybe it is worth it!

July 3 Robotics Update

Coach’s Blog, July 3

A big welcome to our new VISTA Americorp member, Abigail Cohen!

Many thanks to everyone who helped to move our materials back to the lab from EPIC.  We now need to organize the lab so it is usable and presentable for upcoming tours.

VEX Update: We had rising sophomores Neil, Nimish, Nikhil, and Divya working on prototypes for the VEX game Nothing But Net. Welcome new 9th grade students, Caleb and Shidong, and I hope we get a few more incoming BUA students this summer!  We now have a GoogleGroup forum setup for them to communicate, so if you want to see what is going on, I will send you a link.  The forum will be a test for a general team-wide robotics forum.  We will not meet to do VEX on Sunday as it is a holiday weekend.  We will pick up regularly on Wednesday at 5 and Sundays at 2 on July 8th.

Displaying IMG_2086.JPGShidongLowRes Caleb and NimishLowRes

Solidworks training: This will pick up Monday evening, July 6th at 7PM.

U-Design: This outreach camp run by the BU College of Engineering starts Monday July 6th at 8AM at 110 Cummington St. The camp runs for two weeks and is held in the BU Photonics Center.  Several BUA students are assistant teachers.  There are programs in robotics, aeronautics, and electronics.

MassPep:  This also starts on Monday July 6th and is held at Roxbury Community College.  We will be teaching robotics using our LEGO NXT kits.

Entrepreneurship: We are working on a season video and the annual review.  If you want to be involved in the marketing end of our program over the summer let me know.

Battlebots: I enjoyed watched the most recent episode of Battlebots Sunday night.  I noticed that there are two local teams.  Hypershock and Overdrive are both from the Boston area.  Maybe we can take a fieldtrip to go visit them! And both teams made it past the preliminary round so we will see them next Sunday in Episode 3!

Demos and Workshops:  On Monday morning, July 20th we will do a workshop for the TechSavvy camp at 10AM.  On July 15th we will be doing a Scorpion demo and lab tour for the U-Design camp. On Tuesday July 28th we will do a Scorpion demo and lab tour with our FRC bot for the Artemis  camp.

On a personal note I have been playing with EV3 robots every night with Leonardo.  He attended the Robot workshop at the Tufts CEEO this past week and now loves to write computer programs!

Leo at CEEOLowRes

In the news:

Nanobots to clear arteries:  On the Discovery Channel you can read about these “corkscrew nanobots to drill through blocked arteries.”  They steer the nanobots with magnetic fields.

New England Patriots are Flying Robotic Drones: You can read in the NY Daily News how the FAA is nervous that the Giants and the Patriots are using drones in their practice camps. You can read about this in Bloomberg news too. They are using it to film practices.

Drone interferes with firefighting: In case you are wondering why the FAA is concerned about drones, read in the LA Times how a drone grounded several firefighting helicopters.  The problem is they do not want to crash into the drones.

Agriculture drone bots: You can read in the Washington Times how Measure is using drones to try to make farming more efficient.

Audi building lunar robot: Audi has gotten into the  Google Lunar XPrize competition as reported in the Daily Mail.  Their robot/rover will use Audi’s Quattro all wheel drive system.

Tick Tock

Gary Garber

Robotics Update June 25

Coach’s Blog June 25

Communications: If five days, the BUA Intranet, FIRST Class will go offline, so make sure you have migrated to your BU G-mail account.  We now have new google groups for the students and mentors.  One for parents coming soon.  There is a GoogleCalendar with all robotics events now, and you should have received an invitation to view it.

EPIC Cleanup: On Friday, June 26th at 12 noon we need anyone available to finish cleaning out EPIC.  All the valuable stuff should be moved to the lab.   The wooden field pieces can be left in EPIC to be thrown out.  Good pieces of carpet can go to BUA.  Either the gym or the hallway outside of Stone’s office can work.

VEX Robots Nothing But Net: This Sunday we will start building VEX robots.  2-6 PM.  You can view the game on Robot Events.   We will also  have the lab open on Wednesday evenings (from 5 to 9 PM) and Sunday afternoons (from 2 to 6 PM) to work on VEX robots. This is an effort to teach our younger students a lot about the robotics design process. We will be designing robotics based on the new VEX Robotics Competition game, Nothing But Net.

Tour of the GE Aviation: We are rescheduling the GE Aviation tour! Please, fill out this doodle so that we know what date works best for everyone.   Again, only US citizen (including green card holders) are able to attend. At this plant, we design/assemble/test F404 engine, F414 engine, T700 engine (Apache and Blackhawk), new presidential helicopter, and many more!

Schedule:
10 am Security Badges
10:30-12 Presentations
12-1 Lunch
1-2:30 tours
Boston Scientific Demo: August 18th from 8 am – 2 pm we have a demo at bring your kids to work day at Boston Scientific. I most likely cannot attend and we need to send out a doodle to make sure we will have enough kids there.  Here is a Doodle created for the Boston Scientific demo if you want to include it in the announcements.    http://doodle.com/mxw23ygceh7barn7
FRC offseason event in Maine:    Off season event dubbed Summer Heat which is July 18th at South Portland High School??????

In The News:

The NASA Invention of the Year goes to Robotnaut as reported by NASA.  Robonaut is currently on the International Space Station.

R2 and I go back a long way.

He likes to shake hands and pose for the camera (R2, not me)

I like this article from the NY Times on developing a planetary defense system to protect us from the BIG ONE, the asteroid to wipe out life on Earth.

So get ready for Asteroid Day on June 30th.   That is the drive to accelerate the tracking of those killer asteroids.  The guy in charge is Lord Martin Rees, who spoke at BUA a few years ago.  The other big names are Bill Nye (yeah the Science Guy).  Oh and Brian May who is a big-name astrophysicist.  He also started some small band called Queen.  Here you have Lord Rees and Brian May.  Have you ever considered when he wrote “We will rock you” maybe he was thinking about a giant rock hitting the Earth?

1417702246-fa54cbd57a98fc1d308be225b2a0dc8f-600x413.jpg

There are new cool images of the asteroid Ceres which has some mysterious white spots.  See the Washington Post article. Cool pictures from the Dawn spacecraft.

Meanwhile, the New Horizon satellite is taking pictures of Pluto, the object formally called a planet.  See NBC news.

 

 

Robotics Update June 21

Beantown Blitz:Yesterday we performed well at the Beantown Blitz. We were ranked #8 going into alliance selection with our new rookie driver Nimish at the joysticks.  We were on the 6th seed alliance with 5122 and 5563.  And we won the Excellence in Engineering Award.

Embedded image permalink

Our first meeting for VEX will be on Sunday, June 28th in the lab.

 

 

Robotics Team Updates June 18

June 18th, 2015

Coach’s Blog:

Team BBQ: Last Saturday we had the team BBQ at the Nell White’s parents house. Many thanks for hosting us for our end of year celebrations!

Beantown Blitz:The big news this week is that we are preparing for our first post-season FIRST Robotics event, the Beantown Blitz. The event is this Saturday. We will be loading up Dr. Joe’s van with the robot on Friday afternoon around 3PM. This event is a good opportunity for younger students to get a chance to drive the robot.   We had some students stop by Tuesday evening for a driver practice.   We are also looking for one student to be a “judge” at the event and gain an inside window to the FRC judging process.

After the Beantown Blitz, the robot will be coming back to our lab, NOT EPIC. We must vacate EPIC in the coming days, so we will need some help to move all of our equipment out of there.

CAD training: On Monday evening we had our first training session using Solidworks. We are considering options for CAD for the coming season. The second session will be this coming Monday. We had 7 students there including Divya, Nimish, Nikhil, Neil, Jordan, Evelyn, & Janina in addition to some alums/mentors.

MassPep: Last Friday I met with Nell and Ron to plan a curriculum for the Robotics Class we teach over the summer with the Mass Pre-engineering program at Roxbury Community College. Many thanks to Jordan and Evelyn (who taught Saturday workshops there during the year) who helped us plan the curriculum. Many thanks to all four for helping to clean the lab and prep the lab for summer work with LEGO and VEX.

U-Design: On Friday afternoon, we had a training for the U-Design summer camp, which is a camp for middle school students run by the BU College of Engineering. Every summer, several BUA students volunteer to help as teaching assistants in this camp. I teach the Flight School class, and a former Team 246 coach teaches the Electronics and Gizmos class.   A fellow robotics coach from the Gann school teaches the robotics class. This summer I am being helped out by Divya B, Max E, Warren P, Neil M, Simon B., and Alex B.

Other Camps: On Friday I met with the young women running the Boston University Artemis Camp, which is a computer science camp for girls. They use our LEGO Mindstorms RCX kits to teach some robotics during the camp.   We will also be doing a summer morning workshop for the Tech Savvy camp on Monday, July 20th. We will need a few girls to help run this workshop.

VEX: We will have the lab open on Wednesday evenings (from 5 to 9 PM) and Sunday afternoons (from 2 to 6 PM) to work on VEX robots. This is an effort to teach our younger students a lot about the robotics design process. We will be designing robotics based on the new VEX Robotics Competition game, Nothing But Net. Related to VEX, many thanks to Evelyn, Jordan and Michael who spent long hours to help me prepare a presentation for a local company who wanted to learn more about VEX and develop some curricular materials for it.

Robotics in The News:

The Horizon spacecraft is will arrive at Pluto on July 14th. (AP)

Amazon is making a big push for federal regulations for Drone deliveries. (Reuters)

They build a robotic Cheetah that jumps over objects at MIT. (Botmag)

SnapCAD was just released by VEX Robotics. SnapCAD is a CAD program for VEXIQ which is based on the open standard LDRAW (and Mike’s LEGO CAD) which I used to write my LEGO Robotics books.

MA STEM Finalist of the Year

Today I got to visit Gillette stadium and Patriot Place.  I was being interviewed as a finalist for the MA STEM teacher of the year.  While in the lobby, I noticed the playbill for the first Boston Patriot’s game which was played at Boston University. Boston Patriots

After the interview, I had to buy some LEGO Minifigures.  Here I bought Gronkowski for Leonardo.  Alejandro got Edleman, and I gave Brady to Catalina. Grwonk LEGO Growonk

One of my favorite exhibits at Patriot Place was the LEGO Pat’s helmet. LEGO Helmet Selfie Selfie at Gilette STEM Panel1

The STEM panel interviewing me (from the left in the above photo) included Katie Cross, Education Director for the Hall at Patriot Place, me, Allison Scheff, Executive Director of STEM at the Department of Higher Education and the Governor’s STEM Advisory Council, Keith Connors, Senior Program Manager of the STEM Pipeline Fund, and below in the red Patriot’s shirt, Bryan Morry – Executive Director of the Hall at Patriot Place.STEM Panel2 The HallLow VinceLombardiTrophy

Look good for the upcoming physics teacher meeting!

This coming weekend is the annual spring meeting of the New England Section of the American Association of Physics Teachers.   Whenever I want to buy a tie or some jewelry with an astronomy theme, I need to wait for the National Science Teachers Meeting to come to town.  I always visit the booth of Astronomy to Go which has an awesome selection of astronomy themed clothing and jewelry.  However, if you don’t have time to wait I recently discovered two new local online stores I wanted to share with you.  If you want a bow-tie with a science theme, check out Oootie, which has a great selection.  If you are looking for custom made jewelry, check out Creative Horizon.  All of their jewelry is hand-made, and most of it is mosaic.  I bought a great pair of mosaic cufflinks. What impressed me most, is that if you have a design that you want them to make for you, they can deliver!

I bought a couple of their wine stoppers which you can see here.

Handmade mosaic winestopper

Handmade pendant

 

Handmade earrings with flowers

They also import some handmade jewelry from a women’s cooperative in Mexico.