iRobot (w/ pics)

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Blog entry by davidroberts posted 11-08-2010 02:27 AM 1766 reads 0 times favorited 6 comments Add to Favorites Watch

While I’m at it, I wanted to post a few pics of the robot my son helped build and the practice field yours truely built. My 17 year old high school brainiac son participated in a robot competition last weekend. He was responsible for the electronics, wiring, and programming the beast. It has a bunch of servo motors powered by batteries and controlled by a radio controller.

It is one ugly robot, but the robot doesn’t know that. They finished construction about 9:00pm the night before competition then spent the rest of the night debugging and practicing. The team came in 3rd out of 21 teams and missed going to State by 2 points, IIRC. Not bad for an after school project with mostly freshman. It was a building year.

The competition was hosted by BEST (Boosting Engineering Science and Technology) run by Auburn Univ. but locally by NASA Johnson Space Center, Jacobs Engineering, and a couple of other sponsers. The team produces an “engineering notebook” which is well beyond what you think of for high school students, and give oral presentations. Go to the website and watch the video, and if interested, you can help start a program at your kid’s high school. Well worth the effort. The competiton is fierce and watching an auditorium full of teenage nurds get their geek on is hilarious.

My son stretching before the big meet, with robot to right, a true academic athlete, lol

My son fussing with the wiring just before the big meet. Don’t worry coach, I can get it put back together in time!!!

Here’s the playing field I built. Hey there was a challange or two.

-- Better woodworking through old hand tools.

6 comments so far

View GaryL's profile


1099 posts in 2883 days

#1 posted 11-08-2010 02:45 AM

Any videos? That looks way to cool for just still photos.

-- Gary; Marysville, MI...Involve your children in your projects as much as possible, the return is priceless.

View davidroberts's profile


1027 posts in 3538 days

#2 posted 11-08-2010 03:22 AM

Gary, I did take some video on my cell phone, not great quality, and I’m not to good at youtube. It was hard to get close enough to the action to do the competition justice. I did upload a video for you on youtube if you would like to take a look. The reason they do what they do with the robot is kinda hard to explain, they have to make contact with an electrical curcuit to get instructions so it looks like they are just playing around (well they were sometimes, ha). Anyways, hope you enjoy.

-- Better woodworking through old hand tools.

View Bob Simmons's profile

Bob Simmons

505 posts in 3066 days

#3 posted 11-08-2010 03:52 AM

Hey David…This is great. Bet your son loved every minute of it.

-- Bob Simmons, Las Vegas, NV,

View davidroberts's profile


1027 posts in 3538 days

#4 posted 11-08-2010 05:16 AM

Thanks Bob, he was in his element. I don’t think he has enjoyed anything more in his life. We are fortunate to live in a community that promotes academic excellence in the public schools. My son would be lost without this kind of outlet.

-- Better woodworking through old hand tools.

View Bluepine38's profile


3379 posts in 3138 days

#5 posted 11-08-2010 05:52 PM

Looks like the best kind of controlled confusion. A lot of concentration going on and this is his freshman year!!
By the time he is a senior if this keeps up you should not have to worry about college, he should have a couple
of scholarships waiting, not to mention the fun of father, son working together. Congratulations to both of you,
and may you continue to share, this is what makes you a family.

-- As ever, Gus-the 79 yr young apprentice carpenter

View davidroberts's profile


1027 posts in 3538 days

#6 posted 11-09-2010 01:52 AM

Hi Bluepine, it was sheer chaos, at least for me! You’re right the kids were in deep concentration, oblivious to their surroundings. The sponser played loud hard rock and roll all day long. The kids were full throttle. The red bull flowed. My son is actually 17 and a senior but his first year to try it out. There was a returning senior and about 10 freshman, 12 team mates in all. We didn’t have anything like this when I was in high school. Heck, we hardly knew what a robot was.

-- Better woodworking through old hand tools.

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