Outreach - 2016-17
During the 2016-17 season, Error 404 and an FLL team that we mentor, the Thunderbolts, had the privilege of being interviewed by re-3D, a company that makes 3D printers, about how our teams utilize 3D printing in robotics; specifically for 404, our use of the gigabot printer located in the maker-space at our library.
Re-3D also made a video about the maker-space (Jocelyn H. Lee Innovation Lab) located at our local library (yes, that's our robot in the background shots).
Check them out at: https://re3d.org
On October 10, 2016 NRG sponsored a “block party” for employees of major FIRST sponsors such as NRG, Dow, Booz Allen, and Rockwell. The purpose of the event was to promote FIRST
and, more specifically, FLL by engaging the employees and their children in building the field kits for the FLL season events. Since NRG is one of our sponsors, we were invited to represent FIRST along with another FTC team and two FRC teams. During the course of the afternoon, we spoke with many people showing them our robot and notebook from last season and explaining more about FTC in general. We also made valuable contacts with Dow and Booz Allen.
The Houston area Mini-Maker Faire is an annual event that attracts as many as 10,000 attendees and over 200 exhibitors including colleges, start up maker companies, and DIYers. The faire also included a large robotics section with robots from FIRST, Vex, Best, and other programs. We were one of three FTC teams at the faire. We introduced all levels of FIRST robotics to attendees by talking about the amazing student opportunities within FIRST as well as the need for adult volunteers at the April 2017 Houston FIRST World Championship. Also, since we are the host for our FTC league, we are always looking for volunteers to help with our league meets. We were also able to talk with a few TX based companies specializing in the large 3D prints regarding the possibility of them becoming sponsors.
We had a great time representing FIRST and speaking with so many interesting people in the space industry including NASA engineers and astronauts. Besides Error 404, two other FTC teams were present—both of which are rookie teams that we mentor. We collected business cards of several attendees local to our area who may be interested in volunteering for FIRST. In our free time, we were able to explore the
conference and visit many of the booths to
meet with the companies and see all the innovative and amazing things that are happening in the industry. One company in particular, EOS, 3D prints high tech parts in metal and offered to give the team a tour of their facility and evaluate the design for possible 3D printing in aluminum.
Along with the FLL team Thunderbolts, we met
with Mayor Turner who graciously agreed to film the opening to our “Welcome to Houston” video. The filming went great and the meeting turned into so much more. Mayor Turner was interested to see all that we are doing with FIRST, not just with building the robot, but all the other things we do. He asked that we meet further with his Education Czar, Juiliet Stipeche, to explore incorporating FIRST into his education initiatives. Furthermore, he wanted us to meet with Dwight Williams, his HTV production manager, to create videos to help get the word out about FIRST.
In our continued effort to assist in the FIRST community, some Error 404 members attended a practice FLL qualifier to help area FLL teams
prepare for their upcoming competition. The event was hosted by Thunderbolts, an FLL team we mentor, and we served as a referee and judges for core values and project presentations. This event was particularly helpful to rookie teams as it gave them an idea of the flow of the competition and what they should expect.
In 2016-17,we started three rookie FTC teams two of whom are pictured with us to the left. We mentor these teams by giving them advice and assistance on programming, mechanical, engineering notebook, etc. We also loan materials and parts if the need arises. All three teams have done very well this year. We also mentor one FLL team, the Thunderbolts, which has advanced to the world championship in Houston this year.