In this article I am providing many links that will explain these sophisticated robots much better than I can. For this year there was a change in computing equipment used in the robots and the programming language. Instead of using the processing unit of the NXT robot the new Tech Challenge robots use an Android phone unit programmed in the popular JAVA programming language that is used for so many applications. Students building a robot of this type will learn so many things electrical, electronic, mechanical and computer programming.
|Android Phone Seen in this Image|
|Good Crowd of Spectators|
At the competition I ran into the executive director of Hightechkids Cheryl Moeller that I have known for several years and she gave me an overview of the program. She introduced me to several people but I remember best talking to the young ladies that make up the robotics team “Iron Maidens”. In talking with them just a few minutes I picked up the excitement they had for the program and especially the outreach where they speak to other groups about robotics. In doing a search I found out they won the “Inspire Award” which is the highest award an FTC Team can receive.
|High Tech Kids|
|Iron Maidens Gave Me Team Button|
I am not going to provide an accurate description of exactly what the robots do in competition but it is my understanding the robots performs a portion of the task with no outside control and most of the time they are controlled through a joystick controller. There were balls and cubes that were pushed around and then the robots would try to go up a steep ramp. Some of them were shooting out a tape measure to hook a bar behind the ramp.
|Climbing Steep Ramp|
MN Tech Challenge - High Tech Kids
Iron Maidens on Google Page
Iron Maidens Win Inspire Award
Matrix Robot Components
Tetrix Robot Components
Wikipedia About JAVA Programming Language
About the Android Programming and Hardware Interface