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2014 REC Foundation and Robomatter Scholarship Winner!

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Scholarship WinnerThe 2014 REC Foundation and Robomatter Scholarship Winner is Cameron Akker of Redmond, Washington!

Cameron Akker is the 2014 REC Foundation-RoboMatter scholarship recipient and will receive $5,000 intended for students pursuing a degree related to science, technology, engineering or mathematics. Cameron attended Redmond High School and is a member of VEX Team 575, Exothermic Robotics of Redmond, Washington. He will attend Harvard University this fall. Cameron, on far right, is pictured here with his Exothermic Robotics teammates.

Cameron started programming for the first time in 9th grade and pursued a variety of summer programs to improve his skills. He began by learning ROBOTC, picked up Java at a Stanford University program, and took a course focused on robotics programming using language C at the University of Pennsylvania. Last summer, Cameron put his knowledge to use and got together with friends he met through robotics to start a mobile app company. Working straight through the summer, the group was able to create and release two Android games on Google Play.

When it comes to programming robots Cameron says, “Virtual worlds is an excellent interface through which I’ve been able to program without the rough, troublesome physicality of actual robots. It’s helpful to be able to test programs without the possibility of one mistake leading to a physical robot’s untimely demise. The Carnegie Mellon Robotics Academy sponsored Robot Virtual Worlds Competition provides an exciting chance to experience the thrill of robotics programming without needing to attend a physical robotics competition.”

“Understanding programming has also aided the way I build robots to participate in the VEX Robotics Competition,” continues Cameron. “Instead of building an entire robot and then programming it, I program the robot at every step of the build process. As a result, I don’t have to wait until the end of the build process to find broken motors or faulty engineering, but can rather find them along the way. Understanding programming has also allowed me to better set up sensors on a competition robot. Instead of putting sensors on the robot and later figuring out how to incorporate them, I only add sensors when there is a clear need in programming for them.”
The REC Foundation and RoboMatter congratulate Cameron Akker on his well-deserved scholarship award and wish him much success in his college career at Harvard University.

Robomatter Blog Ad RVW

Written by Cara Friez

September 15th, 2014 at 7:15 am

2014 REC Foundation and Robomatter Scholarship

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REC Foundation Scholarship REC Foundation and Robomatter are pleased to partner to offer one (1) $5,000 non-renewable scholarship to one (1) high school junior or senior intent on pursuing a degree related to science, technology, engineering and mathematics in college. The award will be presented at the VEX Robotics Competition World Championship in April 2014, but the student does not need to be present to win.

Eligible students must have participated in the VEX Robotics Competition and submit a 500-word essay explaining how their participation in both the VEX Robotics Competition and the Carnegie Mellon Robotics Academy Sponsored Robot Virtual World Competition enabled them to develop a high competency and appreciation for programming. In addition, students must indicate how programing skills and use of ROBOTC enhanced their understanding of robotics or aided their participation in the VEX Robotics Competition.

Click this link to see the scholarship requirements: Robomatter Scholarship

Fill out this form and follow the instructions on it to apply: Robomatter Scholarship Application form

Entries must include:

  • Student’s name
  • School name
  • Specify grade level (i.e. Junior or Senior at time of application)
  • Team number
  • Document/statement from team mentor verifying student’s participation/role in the challenge
  • Student’s email, mailing address with city, and state

All entries must be submitted to scholarships@roboticseducation.org.

Deadline: February 15, 2014!!

Which Robotics Kit Should I Use? VEX Edition

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VEXiq-109Now more than ever, robotics educators are faced with the important question of which kit they should purchase and use. This key question has been made even more intricate in the 2013-2014 school year due to the addition of the new robotics kits, VEX IQ kits. This article will help break down each VEX kit, their capabilities and target audiences, and allow you, the educator, to make an informed decision on which kit is best for your particular classroom.

The VEX IQ system is the brand-new robotics system from Innovation First International (IFI for short, makers of the VEX Robotics Design System). The VEX IQ can be used with any of the all-new hardware and sensors, including a unique plastic snap-fit structural system.

  • Sensors include a gyroscope, color sensor, potentiometer, touch LED, and ultrasonic sensor.
  • The base kits (either Sensor or Controller kits) are provided with over 650 structural components, 4 plug-and-play ‘smart motors’, at least 2 touch sensors (or more, depending on kit), and the VEX IQ microcontroller (more information on all available kits can be found here).
  • The IQ contains 12 smart ports that can be used to control either analog sensors, digital sensors, or servos/motors; the ports are non-typed and can be used to control any piece of VEX IQ compatible hardware that is plugged into it.
  • It also includes a micro-USB port for IQ-to-computer communication and a ‘tether’ port for direct connections to an VEX IQ Controller.
  • Debugging and programming information can be displayed on the backlit LCD information to increase ease-of-use in real time.
  • Wireless communication between the VEX IQ microcontroller and a VEX IQ controller is provided via a set of 900 MHz radio adapters.
  • The VEX IQ system will be fully legal in the new VEX IQ Challenge (designed specifically for the VEX IQ system), for students ages 8-14.
  • Recommended use: Middle School.

cortex-robotOne of the mainstays of the educational robotics world is the VEX Cortex platform. Originally released in 2010 by IFI, the Cortex can be used with the VEX Robotics Design System’s hardware and sensors.

  • Includes over 300 metal structural parts, 4 powerful DC motors, the VEX Cortex microcontroller, and a wide variety of fasteners, gears, and other miscellaneous hardware.
  • Sensors include touch sensors, an ultrasonic sensor, integrated motor encoders, line following sensors, and a potentiometer; additional sensors are available outside of the base kits.
  • Wireless communication between a VEX Cortex and a VEXNet Joystick Controller is possible by using the 802.11b/g VEXNet USB Adapter Keys.
  • The VEX Cortex system can be used in the VEX Robotics Challenge (Middle, High School, and College divisions).
  • Recommended use: advanced Middle School, High School or College.

We understand that choosing a robotics kit is a tough decision. The number one factor in determining which kit is right for you is the students; depending on the skill level of the students, it may be better to challenge them with a more advanced kit (VEX Cortex) or they may prefer to learn with a beginner kit to get them started (VEX IQ.) No matter which kit you decide to use, though, you can rest easy knowing ROBOTC will fully support all of these platforms.

 

Written by John Watson

August 27th, 2013 at 5:13 pm