-archive.php

PCHS Robotics Attract Notice, Seed Money

An emergent robotics program continues to take shape at Pulaski County High School, and now others beyond the county are beginning to take notice. Two weeks ago, Gov. Terry McAuliffe visited a cyber security class at PCHS to watch students maneuver their robots through obstacles using computer code.

Last week, Roanoke Blacksburg Technology Council (RBTC) presented a $500 check to the high school’s robotics program that was provided by Pulaski’s MOVA Technologies. RBTC Director Robert McAden called it “seed money” to help get the high school’s robotics team going. “As a graduate of Pulaski County Schools and a recent graduate of the University of Virginia, I understand the importance of innovation. In modern America, if you are not innovating and fostering new ideas and growth, you are moving backwards,” says Tyler Clontz, public information officer for MOVA Technologies in downtown Pulaski.McAden says RBTC’s “footprint” has always included both the Roanoke and New River valleys: “We are recognized as the premier organization bringing the two regions together.”

He says RBTC’s desire to cover the NRV isn’t new but the organization is “being more intentional in reaching out to areas in both the New River and Roanoke valleys beyond the major metropolitan areas. We have recently hosted events in Pulaski, Salem, and Botetourt and plan to continue to look for ways to reach other areas within our footprint.”

RBTC was founded in 1998 as the New Century Technology Council at the same time similar bodies were formed
across the state. It was eventually renamed the Roanoke Blacksburg Technology Council.

“I hope this seed money will be the start of a great new program in Pulaski County schools,” said Steve Critchfield, president of MOVA. As Clontz explains, “Our company MOVA is centered on an innovative technology that would not exist if it weren’t for the opportunities to learn and grow that have been given to many people. For
this reason, we are glad to contribute and help create more opportunities for our future innovators by supporting the Robotics Club for Pulaski County schools.”

(Source: The Southwest Times – Sept. 2017 – PDF)

Recent Posts

FIRST Robotics Chesapeake District Southwest Virginia Event – March 4 and 5

Free and open to the public! Forty of the best and brightest high school robotics teams will be competing in this two day event. Come out and cheer on your favorite team or learn more about bringing FIRST Robotics programs to your community.

FIRST Robotics Competition is recognized as the premier high school engineering challenge. Teams of students, working closely with teachers and volunteer mentors, have six weeks to conceptualize, design, build, program, modify and test a robot to participate in a competition that changes each year. Every January, FIRST unveils the challenge or “game” at an annual kick-off event that is simulcast to locations around the world.

Teams receive a kit of common parts that are used to build the core systems of their robots, but they won’t find an instruction manual. No two robots will be built or operated in exactly the same way! Students work with hundreds of components, including engineering mainstays such as programmable radio controllers, motors, electrical circuitry, pneumatic components and mechanical parts. Each team has to decide its own game strategy, and has to design and fabricate a machine within tight specifications on size, weight and materials.

Following the six-week design and build phase, teams enter two of seven District competitions in the District of Columbia, Maryland, and Virginia. Teams compete for scores that will earn them a place at the FIRST Chesapeake District Championship in Richmond, Virginia. (Winners from FIRST Chesapeake will compete at the FIRST World Championship in St. Louis.)

Saturday, March 4th through Sunday, March 5th (8:30 am until 5:00 pm)
Blacksburg High School | 3401 Bruin Lane, Blacksburg, VA 24060

For more info visit: FirstChesapeake.org

Also, be sure to check out the Virginia-DC FIRST LEGO League Jr. Expo on Saturday, March 4th from 10am to 1pm.


VOLUNTEERS STILL NEEDED!

Many volunteers are needed to make this event a success. Please consider volunteering this weekend. Four more judges are still needed. Qualifications to be a judge include: that you enjoy STEM and do not have a conflict of interest for the last 3 years with any of the First Robotics teams. To volunteer see the instructions below:

  • Sign up here for the tournament as soon as you can.  If you are 18, some positions may take longer (apply anyway).
  • Choose the FIRST Chesapeake District Southwest Qualifier, March 3-5 for the Blacksburg tournament.
  • Parents and other adults we really need volunteers for Field Disassembly on Sunday 3/5/17 night. Just show up.
  • Email Dee Tomczak and let her know you’re volunteering to be a judge. Include your contact info and a few sentences for a bio.

Recent Posts

Volunteers Needed for FIRST Robotics Competition in Blacksburg – March 12-13

Volunteers – especially referees – are needed for assistance with one of the Premier STEM programs in Virginia! FIRST Robotics Competition (FRC) is recognized as the premier high school engineering challenge. Teams of students, working closely with teachers and volunteer mentors, have six weeks to conceptualize, design, build, program, modify and test a robot to participate in a competition that changes each year.

This year’s big FIRST Robotics tournament will be held for Blacksburg the weekend of March 12-13.  Come volunteer for this great STEM event and enjoy seeing what 36 different high schools have created!

To Volunteer:
Register online as a volunteer here: https://my.firstinspires.org/FIRSTPortal/Login/VIMS_Login.aspx
Then FIRST does a background check for some of the positions, not all.
You’ll apply for an event:

  • Select FRC – FIRST Robotics Competition
  • Select USA
  • Specify Zip code of 24060

You should find the event “FRC | CHS District – Southwest Virginia Event | Blacksburg  VA | Mar 11, 2016 – Mar 13, 2016”

Select that event, then you’ll see a questionnaire about preferred positions.  Some positions require online training, and they’ll send you links for that once they’ve sorted out who will actually fill what position. Thank you for volunteering your time to help promote the technology base in our Roanoke Blacksburg Technology Council!

Questions? Email: Gordie Zeigler, gzeigler@sycomtech.com


Recent Posts

Unmanned Vehicle Chapter Being Formed to Promote Region

The Roanoke-Blacksburg Technology Council is pleased to be a sponsor of the currently forming Western Virginia chapter of the Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International (AUVSI). This important initiative was recently mentioned in the Roanoke Times:

Some Southwest Virginians involved in technology, engineering and science research say the region could be the next hotspot not only for the development of drones, but for any vehicle that doesn’t require a human pilot.

To try to take advantage of that, a group is on the way to soon starting a regional chapter of the Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International. Assuming all the paperwork gets OK’d with no issues, the group is planning a chapter launch event for March.

AUVSI is a global nonprofit that advocates and promotes unmanned systems and the robotics community. The regional chapter would do much of the same work on a local level, said Nanci Hardwick, CEO of Christiansburg engineering company Aeroprobe, who is helping to form the chapter. That would include promoting the unmanned industry to the public, trying to bring more jobs in the field to the region and tapping into the local startup and college communities to help grow the work on unmanned vehicles, she said.

“Everyone who has participated in this conversation agrees … We are a region full of assets and would be a desirable place for companies to relocate,” Hardwick said.

Noting the Mid-Atlantic Aviation Partnership and the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute, Hardwick said Southwest Virginia is already home to some key groups in the realm of unmanned systems.

READ THE FULL ARTICLE

Recent Posts