Special request of a droid builder (or two?)

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Lord Dark Helmet
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Special request of a droid builder (or two?)

Post by Lord Dark Helmet » Fri Jan 20, 2017 10:41 am

My 11-year-old son and his middle school robotics team (6-8 grades) has made it all the way to Super Regionals in Cedar Rapids, Iowa as part of the First Robotics program. As part of the First process, they're supposed to engage in outreach activities to learn more about robotics as well as sharing robotics information with other kids. They already went over to Oakland University's Robotics lab to see robots in an academic setting and are planning to visit a manufacturing plant of their majority sponsor. I thought it would fun to get an opportunity to see some robots in a less industrial setting. Something they can do with it as a hobby or maybe a really COOL job like ILM or something.

So basically I'm just floating this out there to see what's plausible to do. If there is a droid builder (or perhaps multiple builders) out here that could help us out, that would fantastic. Logistics of the whole thing are very negotiable. Our team is based out of Bloomfield Hills so something sort of local would make the most sense (but we don't mind driving them a fair bit either). There are (I think) 10 kids and a few coaches and parent mentors. They have workspace located at the old BHHS on Lahser so we could certainly meet there, but I'm assuming it would be easier for them to go to wherever the droids are. With that said, I don't want to impose with such a large group so we're good doing whatever's easiest.

As for what to cover, I'm not really sure what to request. It would be very cool for the kids to see the inner workings of the droids. If someone has some different types (R2, mouse droid, BB8) it would be great for the kids to know how they "do what they do". If there is custom programming or controls that are designed for each bot, it would be helpful for the kids to see how it compares to the programming, sensors and controls they work with. We may also be able to bring our robot so the kids can show off a little bit and show you how they designed and built and programmed their stuff--and how they drive. Much like the logistics, the content is also very negotiable.

If anyone is able and interested in helping, please let me know. Timing is flexible. Obviously not during school hours but any night or weekend day is probably workable. Super Regionals is March 30-April 1 so it would probably make the most sense to do it before then. If you need more information to determine if you can help, just PM me with whatever questions you have. I'll do my best to answer.

Thanks.

* If this type of request is out of line or in the wrong place, feel free to delete or move the post--sorry.

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Re: Special request of a droid builder (or two?)

Post by Flash » Fri Jan 20, 2017 11:13 am

There will be a few of us builders at Great Lakes Comic Con. So far we'll have complete R2 and a Mouse droid in progress. My R2 is very basic, not much different than a remote control car. So, there's not a lot of programming involved, if that's what you're looking for.

I've presented at a robotics club before and find that many of the kids know as much or as more as I do. For many of us R2 building is about following directions and planning. But if they want to just come and check out some droids and look inside and see how simple it is I would be happy to talk to them and answer any questions they may have. I will be there Sat Feb 25th.

http://www.greatlakescomiccon.org/main.html

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Re: Special request of a droid builder (or two?)

Post by Lord Dark Helmet » Fri Jan 20, 2017 4:52 pm

Thanks for the suggestion, Mike. I'm signed up to troop for that one and I think my wife was going to try to bring my kids over for a while. Not sure how many of the team might be able to make it as a group outing but I can certainly suggest it to the coach and see if she wants to organize a car pool over there. Can't seem to go to the tickets link from here at work. I'll have to check the cost when I get home.

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Re: Special request of a droid builder (or two?)

Post by Husky » Fri Jan 20, 2017 11:09 pm

My mouse droid will be at Great Lakes, and it's more of a remote control car than an R2 well, because it's actually is a remote control car.
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Re: Special request of a droid builder (or two?)

Post by mrcosmo » Sat Jan 21, 2017 10:29 am

I will try to bring BB-8.
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Re: Special request of a droid builder (or two?)

Post by Lord Dark Helmet » Mon Jan 23, 2017 9:47 am

mrcosmo wrote:I will try to bring BB-8.
I'm assuming you mean to GLCC. Very cool.

I talked to the coach at practice last night and she was receptive to the idea of trying to get the group over there. She was a little concerned that it will be overwhelming and the kids may not get much one on one time to count as outreach. She also assumed they probably couldn't bring their bot to show off what they can do (or have done). I assumed that was correct but didn't really know.

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Re: Special request of a droid builder (or two?)

Post by Flash » Mon Jan 23, 2017 10:47 am

I could ask the organizer if there's is a time slot where we can use the panel room for an hour. I have a feeling it wouldn't be a problem. If it's the same as last year there's plenty of room for us to show them droids and for them to show off their work and they might even have a small audience in the bleachers.

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Re: Special request of a droid builder (or two?)

Post by Lord Dark Helmet » Mon Jan 23, 2017 11:52 am

That sounds very cool. Let me run it by the coach at the next meeting and I'll let you know if that would be workable.

Thanks again.

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Re: Special request of a droid builder (or two?)

Post by Flash » Thu Jan 26, 2017 7:09 pm

The Con promoter said we could have the time scheduled in the panel room to talk to the kids.
If you decide to do this we will just make it a panel for droids and robots. The kids can bring their robots to show off and answer questions as well. They don't have to speak or anything. The coach would have the option to speak to the crowd if he wanted too. Or It can just me giving a quick explanation of the droids to the kids and crowd. Then everyone would be able to come down and view the inside of the droids (robots), ask questions etc. I just need to know ASAP so he can add it to the schedule. If you aren't interested we probably won't do a panel.

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Re: Special request of a droid builder (or two?)

Post by Lord Dark Helmet » Thu Jan 26, 2017 11:25 pm

Tonight was the first practice since you mentioned about the room so I finally talked to the coach. She's very interested and actually this new proposal you had sounds even better than when you first mentioned it. I definitely think the kids will talk to anyone that wants to listen. The coach was wondering tonight if the kids might be able to bring their competition field for their portion of the show and tell? I would guess its about 12x12 feet and about a foot tall. Even if they could bring a corner of it or whatever, they could run their program. Would you guess that many people would go to this "panel"? Is there a fee to get the room? Do you have any feel for what time of day this would be? I'm guessing the group would be fairly flexible. I would say they are definitely interested and we'll just need to work out the details. Is there a projector or anything available so they could explain their programming process?

Sounds like R2, a mouse droid and maybe BB8 could be there. The kids would love to take a (careful) peak inside and see how those droids operate. Kevin, I know you recently took the innerds out of BB8. Could you maybe explain to the kids all the hassle that you went through building it and the issues you ran into? I think they could relate to the rethinking and re-engineering of that. And do I understand correctly that someone has an in process build (is that Kevin's mouse droid)? That will be great to see.

This is shaping up to be a great outreach for them. Thanks Mike for your help in getting it all set up and thanks to any builders that are able to attend--even if just to listen to the kids. And like I said, the kids LOVE to talk to anyone that wants to listen so if any other GLG members are able to sit in on the panel, it is much appreciated.

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Re: Special request of a droid builder (or two?)

Post by Flash » Fri Jan 27, 2017 12:13 am

The coach was wondering tonight if the kids might be able to bring their competition field for their portion of the show and tell? I would guess its about 12x12 feet and about a foot tall.
If it's the same size as last year then there should be room. But I will ask. Answer: there should be enough room in the panel area but be ready to use a scaled down version just in case.
Would you guess that many people would go to this "panel"? Is there a fee to get the room?
The room is open and part of the Con admission. If I had to guess I would say approximately 30-50 people? but maybe more if there's a lot of excitement for this
Do you have any feel for what time of day this would be?
I'll have to ask on this. Answer: He said 11 or 12. The Legion panel is set for 1:00 so I asked for 12 just to keep them together.
Is there a projector or anything available so they could explain their programming process?
I believe just a PA system will be available

The most important thing I can say about this is we need to make a final decision real soon. I would say in the next 2 days or so since it's less than a month a way and the promoter has schedules to set up.

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Re: Special request of a droid builder (or two?)

Post by Flash » Fri Jan 27, 2017 12:32 am

Updated answers on my previous post. If the droid panel happens it will be at 12. There should be enough room for your display in the panel room if it's the same size. Just be ready to scale it down just in case.

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Re: Special request of a droid builder (or two?)

Post by Lord Dark Helmet » Fri Jan 27, 2017 10:11 pm

Mike, thank you so much for facilitating this. It is a huge help. I just talked to the coach again with the details you provided and she's super excited to do this. I'm going to send out an email to the kids' parents to get them started on pre-buying tickets and stuff. Hopefully I can get a count on how many kids will be able to make it. If you get any more information in the size of the room, let me know. The team will at least bring their bot and a laptop to show their programming to anyone who cares to see. I think they'll plan to bring the field parts as well and hopefully they can set it up to demo their hard work. And they will probably have a short presentation and field questions. And they're REALLY interested in seeing R2 and any others they can and learning about what goes into them.

Thanks. :thumbs:

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Re: Special request of a droid builder (or two?)

Post by Flash » Fri Jan 27, 2017 10:24 pm

OK I'll assume this is 100% happening then? Just so I can let them know. Also I'll need the name of the robotics club so they can put it on the panel schedule with the R2 builders.

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Re: Special request of a droid builder (or two?)

Post by Lord Dark Helmet » Fri Jan 27, 2017 11:58 pm

I can assure you 100% that at least part of the team will be there with the bot and ready to present. I hope to know better how many can attend in the next few days. The team name is No Limits Robotics and they're based out of Bloomfield Hills Middle School. Let me know if you need anything else or if questions arise. I'll try to keep you updated as a get more details as well.

Thanks again.

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Re: Special request of a droid builder (or two?)

Post by Flash » Sat Jan 28, 2017 12:58 am

OK I let them know and this will be added to the panel schedule :thumbs:

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Re: Special request of a droid builder (or two?)

Post by Skykat » Sat Jan 28, 2017 11:48 am

Sounds like an awesome panel!!
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Re: Special request of a droid builder (or two?)

Post by mrcosmo » Sat Jan 28, 2017 12:04 pm

I am in for the panel. Will bring BB-8.
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Re: Special request of a droid builder (or two?)

Post by Lord Dark Helmet » Sat Feb 25, 2017 10:33 pm

Mike, thanks so much for all your efforts to get this set up and for being the master of ceremonies and facilitator for the panel. The kids all loved seeing R2. Kevin, Todd and Kevin, thanks for bringing out your Droids and taking part in the discussion. The kids learned a lot from seeing and hearing about your stuff. I think the panel today went perfectly and the kids had a great time talking about FIRST, hearing about your builds and showing off their bot to anyone that wanted to come see. I truly appreciate your willingness to help. The coach also requested your addresses so the kids can send you cards. If you're willing, please PM me an address (home, work, miscellaneous neighbor, etc.) to which they can send a card. Thanks again.

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Re: Special request of a droid builder (or two?)

Post by Flash » Sun Feb 26, 2017 2:24 pm

Lord Dark Helmet wrote:Mike, thanks so much for all your efforts to get this set up and for being the master of ceremonies and facilitator for the panel. The kids all loved seeing R2. Kevin, Todd and Kevin, thanks for bringing out your Droids and taking part in the discussion. The kids learned a lot from seeing and hearing about your stuff. I think the panel today went perfectly and the kids had a great time talking about FIRST, hearing about your builds and showing off their bot to anyone that wanted to come see. I truly appreciate your willingness to help. The coach also requested your addresses so the kids can send you cards. If you're willing, please PM me an address (home, work, miscellaneous neighbor, etc.) to which they can send a card. Thanks again.
I'm glad we were able to do this for the kids. I was amazed at how they took over the mic and kept it flowing. A great example of good parenting/teaching going on there. :thumbs:

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