Ingenutec is strong supporter of FIRST® Robotics (firstinspires.org) through its mentoring of two local high school teams. This is one of our ways of giving back to the community and encouraging the growth of STEM at the high school level.
FIRST Robotics Competition (FRC) teams compete against other teams from around the world. There are currently over 5000 teams world wide. Each January, a new game, with a new objective is announced. From the announcement date, teams have just 6 weeks, often referred to as “build season”, to DESIGN and BUILD a robot, weighing up to 120 lbs, and prepare them for competition. But, it’s not just about the robots…
FRC teams, including those mentored by Ingenutec, are small business, many with budgets ranging from $50k-$250k per year. The teams raise funds, market themselves, create business plans and develop presentations and applications for awards ranging from safety to engineering innovation to how well they promote STEM in their communities. Students gain an expansive set of skills that put them ahead of their peers as successful students and future leaders.
FIRST Mentors assist and guide the students in these endeavors. For many of the mentors, “build season” is a second full time job. Teams meet M-F evenings and most of the day on Saturdays. Mentoring and corportate involvement is not just a benefit for the students. FIRST Robotics is a excellent way for companies to identify and recruit intelligent, driven students for future positions. Ingenutec is proud of its involvement and the time, and energy, our team members are willing to give to the students. Most of the students from Ingenutec mentored teams, upon graduation, have or will be entering engineering and technology programs at top tier universities.
FIRST Robotics Team #3824: RoHAWKtics
Robert volunteers his time as a mentor for the RoHAWKtics. He mentors students in the areas of programming, electronics and controls. The team has both programming and electronics sub-teams which Robert helps guide. Students learn how to program the robot, using Java, for both operator controlled and autonomous operation. They have developed image recognition systems, autonomous aiming systems and gyroscope controlled driving using sensors including cameras, quadrature encoders and lidar ranging. Students learn to to use PID loops and how to tune them. They learn, not only the basic implementations, but they also learn about processes and quality control. Working as a team, it is vital to learn how to manage the rapid development requirements while keeping the code’s quality and reliability as high as possible.
The HVA Rohawktics team has provided numerous opportunities for its students. Some students have started internships at Oak Ridge National labs while still in high school and continued those internships into college. Team alumni have gone on to top engineering schools including Purdue, Virginia Tech, Worcester Polytechnic Institute and MIT. They have also received scholarships from a pool of over $16 million, open only to FIRST participants.