FIRST, For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology, is a charitable organization founded by Segway inventor Dean Kamen. The goal of FIRST is to promote the fields of science and technology to students and encourage kids to become involved in the professions of engineering, science, and technology. FIRST aims to make science and technology as cool and exciting as athletics and music through engaging, hands on programs for various age levels from preschool to high school. Along the way FIRST also establishes the idea of "gracious professionalism", the belief that you can perform at your highest level while simultaneously helping others achieve their best. FIRST also encourages community involvement and instilling the inspiration of engineering in others. Spanning the globe with hundreds of international teams, tens of thousands of students and mentors, and currently celebrating its 17th year of engineering excellence, FIRST is a dynamic organization inspiring the leaders of tomorrow to reach new heights.
January 9th was the FIRST 2010 kickoff, and we are intensely brainstorming to decide on a design for our robot, developing strategies to play our new game-Breakaway- and building components of the practice field. We are at OTHS working just about every afternoon and evening during build season, and we have some very exciting ideas about how this year's robot will function. Ship date for the robot is February 23, so we have six weeks to perfect our machine!
Over the past weekend Oakville Trafalgar students and the robot participated in a robotics demonstration at the Ontario Science Centre. Along with students from teams 1114 (Governor Simcoe Robotics) and 2056 (Orchard Park Robotics), OT students demonstrated their robot to visitors as part of the Robots Rule Weekend. Fred, Team 1334's robot, amazed crowds during this event, and even bought students drinks from the food stand. Lego and Vex robotic demonstrations as well as the Canadian National Robotics Games were part of the weekend activies. The event was an outstanding success, and helped to introduce the excitement of FIRST Robotics to everyone who attended.
Recently team 1334 was proud to be chosen by FIRST as a Beta test team for FIRST's new programming platform. We learned the new language, then had to share the information with other Ontario FIRST teams.
We chose to share the information by way of a "retreat" at the school Saturday, November 14th. In addition to an excellent workshop given by 1334's student programmer Eric Atkinson, a workshop on team promotion was given by Ed Thompson of AbsoluteMotivation.com and Solid works was demonstrated by Chuck Woods. Concurrently, a Lego Practice tournament was held in the atrium, which attracted alot of attention from the public who were there for a volleyball tournament.
Click here for more information and material on the Team 1334 Beta Test
The Oakville Trafalgar Robotics team is starting another season with big plans, big hopes and big robots. The team is part of the FIRST organization, and participates in robotics competitions while volunteering in the community. Hoping to build on their performances last year that qualified them for the international championships in Atlanta, Georgia last year, the team has sprung into action early in the school year. Students are already mentoring students in LEGO robotics at schools and libraries across the town, and planning for regional and provincial tournaments is already under way.
Meanwhile the team was also offered a tour of the Hydroform factory in Brampton, where students were able to see first hand what robotics can do. New students are also being shown the ropes and are practicing using the shop's machinery and the various programs on the computers. Thanks to our strong performance last year the FIRST organization has also selected our team to beta test new programs and components for this year's competition. The team's robot, FRED, was showcased at the recent Twilight on the Lake event to give the OT parent community a feel for the high-tech capabilities of this award winning school team. The team has lofty ambitions this year and requires sponsorship. If you know of an employer who can help with a tax-deductible donation, please refer them to: www.othsrobotics.ca
For the first time in team history, the Red Devils qualified for the World Championships in Atlanta. This marked the realization of many years of training, hard work and learning for the team. In the tournament we competed with and against teams from Canada, the United States, Israel, Brazil and all over the world.
The team arrived in Atlanta after a gruelling 16-hour overnight bus ride from Oakville. The tournament kick off began with speeches by FIRST founders Dean Kamen and Woody Flowers, and even a robot parade. The round-robin matches then began, and 349 teams in 4 divisions began play. During the round-robins our robot suffered several disappointing technical glitches, and this severely handicapped our performance. After the round-robins were complete, the team finished well out of the elite playoff rounds. The team then viewed the final matches, watching the best of the best going head to head. Closing ceremonies and awards were held in between the penultimate matches. FIRST then hosted a grand finale, with carnival games and a great festive atmosphere to top off another great season. During their spare time the team also did some sightseeing on the side, visiting Coke World and the Georgia Aquarium.
This tournament marked the end of the 2008-2009 competitive season. This has been Oakville Trafalgar's best year ever, winning the Engineering Inspiration Award at the Waterloo Regional. As finalists in Waterloo, semi-finalists in GTA and qualifying for the World Championships, it was a fantastic season for all our team members, teachers and mentors. We'd like to take this opportunity to thank all our great volunteers, mentors, sponsors, parents and students for another great year. While the tournaments are over, the team is still busy preparing a Midnight Madness exhibit, a leadership retreat, and other activities.
We all hope we can build on our great results for even greater achievements next year.