Observations from a FIRST Judge and the story of a SWAT bot!
As some of you know, I'm a judge for FRC. This year I had the honor of being a Regional Chairman's Award judge at the Granite State Regional in Manchester, NH. I reviewed 18 submissions and interviewed the same number of teams. These teams continue to amaze me with not only their technology prowess but, more importantly, the amazing work they do in their communities, their state, the country, and the world. They take the mission of spreading the word of FIRST very seriously. I met teams that help their low-income community members winterize their homes, create baby blankets for adoption agencies, set up and run summer camps for kids interested in learning how to build Lego robots, raise money for the burn victims, and built an icebot for their fire department to assist with risky rescues. The winner of the RCA in NH was Team 166, Chop Shop. Listen to the short video announcing the team... you can hear them in the background as it dawns on them that they won! Well deserved, but the truth is, all the teams are excellent.
Today, I read an article about Team Pink, FRC 233, sponsored by PTC and NASA. They built a robot for their police department's SWAT team (using Creo Elements/Pro). The article includes images of the bot and some audio of the kids being interviewed, so check it out. I love the quote from Detective Cohie, who has been on the force for six years and a SWAT officer for four, “This project is the best thing I’ve ever been involved in in my career so far. It’s given me pride for my job, pride in my community … The students gave us something that will eventually save the life of one of us.” I get chills just reading it!
I also have the opportunity to be a judge at the championship in St. Louis and can't wait to meet teams from all over the world. But their are thousands of teams doing great work. Tell me about your team or teams you have met doing wonderful things.