FIRST Robotics

  • Tessa Bousfield posted an article
    Main takeaways from Friday’s exhibition of Victoria’s emerging and established companies. see more

    Source: LimbicMedia.ca

    Five Takeaways from Discover Tectoria 2018

    VIATEC’s 2018 Discover Tectoria event was a friendly and engaging introduction for Limbic Media’s new marketing team. Having seen Victoria’s vibrant tech sector with fresh eyes, here are our main takeaways from Friday’s exhibition of Victoria’s emerging and established companies.

    1. Interactivity is king

    Nestled in Discover Tectoria’s Creativity Hub, most foot traffic seemed to flock to booths with elements of interactivity. Limbic Media’s Aurora tent invited visitors of all ages into a meditative, darkened space to make music and translate their creativity into a visual experience. Next door, FIRST Robotics BC opened up a floor space for people to engage with robotic vehicles. The most intriguing sound over the event’s wall of voices came from Monkey C Interactive. With little instruction, the interactive Registroid forced people to explore sounds and become their own artist. Also present in the Creativity Hub was Studio Robazzo, helping bring forward the role of technology in art, emphasizing how tech and art are really one and the same. Discover Tectoria succeeds in creating more avenues for audiences of all ages to participate in the creative process.

    2. Tech is a kid-centric industry

    Even though Discover Tectoria provides ample opportunity to network whether you’re an investor, an existing tech company, or looking for a new career, Discover Tectoria builds on elements of interactivity by involving kids and their role in tech. Outside the Creativity Hub, Discover Tectoria focused on edutainment in The Combustion Chamber by showcasing technologies and experiments for families through presentations and audience involvement, and Engineering for Kids took a more of an industry-specific approach to kick-starting young interest in tech. Discover Tectoria is a venue that recognizes the importance of getting young minds churning early, and highlighting tech that all ages can relate to.

    3. Victoria’s tech industry is becoming ever more visible 

    Discover Tectoria is widening the industry’s audience not only for kids, but for all walks of life. Even just four years ago, the influence of the tech industry in Victoria’s economy wasn’t necessarily all that obvious. Unless you were looking for it, the number of vibrant technology companies gracing downtown office space wasn’t visible—but in a short time, the sector has emerged as the city’s top industry, and events like Discover Tectoria are making that fact widely known to the public. The average tech conference bustles with entrepreneurs, startups, press and VCs. Discover Tectoria stands out by making the public of all ages its primary audience. It encourages people to participate and discover what goes on in our city behind the long-standing face of tourism and government.

    4. We need to start thinking of Victoria more as a city and less as a town

    Victoria is a tight community, and its tech community is even tighter-this is part of what makes Victoria so appealing. However, it also puts us in danger of staying in a “tourist town” mentality by telling the same old Victorian story over and over. Because of rapid growth in recent years, both in population, real-estate, and industries like tech, Victoria is going through growing pains and developing new identities. We are no longer the flowery city of the newly-wed and nearly dead. Discover Tectoria makes it clear that the tech industry is helping change the face of our narrative, putting us on the map globally as a city on the forefront of technology and culture.

    5. Victoria’s various sectors need to strengthen their partnerships 

    Speaking of tourism and the growth of Victoria’s industries, an audience member posed a pertinent question during the Innovation Theatre talk on Creative Storytelling: What are some examples of how the tech and hospitality industries have collaborated in Victoria?

    Although there have been a number of initiatives bridging tech and tourism in Victoria in the last couple years, the ensuing pause said a lot about the visibility of that collaboration, especially between tourism and Victoria’s authentic cultural and arts scene. According to the speakers, Victoria’s various industries often feel like they’re in still competing in spite of newly formed partnerships. Discover Tectoria provided a public forum that clearly has open arms to outside industries, given the opportunity to join forces. The overall message was simple: ”Come talk to us. We have lots of ideas and we can make them happen.”

    Whether or not last Friday’s exhibition was your first Discover Tectoria, the event had something new for everyone—from toddlers interacting with tech edutainment, to investors checking out emerging local companies, to Limbic’s marketing team getting familiarized with our city’s vibrant tech community. Victoria is a unique climate of rapidly growing industries, and Viatec’s event was an inviting summary of the potential 2018 has to bring for our city’s tech sector.

  • Tessa Bousfield posted an article
    Competition will be held at Save-On-Foods Memorial Centre from March 14 to 16. see more

    Source: Times Colonist
    Author: Darron Kloster

    Memorial Centre owner bringing battle of robots to Victoria

    The first B.C. Regional FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) Robotics Competition will be held at Save-On-Foods Memorial Centre from March 14 to 16.

    As many as 30 robotics teams, and their robots built and programmed by high school students, will set up at the arena for the first competition of its kind in B.C.

    “From the moment I met Dean Kamen, the founder of FIRST Robotics, three years ago I was convinced this was something I needed to bring to B.C.” said Graham Lee, president of the GSL Group, which owns the arena. “Helping to develop robotics and artificial intelligence in our province is a personal goal of mine and this competition will open up opportunities for young innovators to be involved first hand, and possibly initiate future careers in this industry that will have a major impact on our future.”

    The competition aims to provide learning and development opportunities for kids in technology, and showcase the robots in a battle that combines sport, science and teamwork.

    Under strict time limitations, students design and build 55-kilogram robots that compete on a playing field to complete tasks. Students program and test their machines using skills in engineering, coding, and design. Teams also develop business and marketing plans, as well as outreach initiatives to fundraise and engage their local community.

  • Clive Gorman posted an article
    Victoria high school robotics team sponsored by local tech companies take top honours. see more

     

    Local Victoria high school students were honoured with two prestigious awards ahead of more than 1,200 international students at the FIRST Tech Challenge (FTC) robotics contest in Houston, Texas last week.

    The team is sponsored by local Victoria tech companies and organizations; Codename Entertainment, Actuonix, Prototype Equipment Design, and Makerspace have donated money, space, or materials, to the team as part of their ongoing support and advocacy for growing the tech industry both locally and for Canada.

    Team member, Aila Simpson, was selected for the 'Dean's List' award, the first time that a Canadian FTC student was chosen for the honour in the seven-year history of the award.

    The team also won the Inspire Award, the highest FTC award that recognises excellence in robot design and teamwork.

    The FIRST Tech Challenge International Championships was held in Houston, Texas in the United States on April 19-22, 2017. FIRST Tech Challenge teams (up to 15 members, grades 7-12) are challenged to design, build, program, and operate robots to compete in a head-to-head challenge in an alliance format.

    FIRST Founder Dean Kamen said: “It is critical to develop more kids with the toolset, the vision and the ability to work together to deal with difficult problems. At FIRST, we inspire enthusiastic young people to learn, work hard and one day – change the world."

    About Team FIX IT 3491

    Team FIX IT 3491 are five local students that attend Mount Douglas Secondary School, Victoria High, Pacific School of Innovation and Inquiry, and one home learning student. The Victoria team is one of only three teams from Canada out of the 120 international teams.

    The team coach is Christine Nicholls, a local member of FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) non-profit organisation, a role she has performed for the last ten years.

    The team is sponsored by local Victoria tech companies and organizations; Codename Entertainment, Actuonix, Prototype Equipment Design, and Makerspace have donated money, space, or materials, to the team as part of their ongoing support and advocacy for growing the tech industry both locally and for Canada.

    About FIRST Tech Challenge World Championship

    FIRST Tech Challenge teams (up to 15 members, grades 7-12) are challenged to design, build, program, and operate robots to compete in a head-to-head challenge in an alliance format.

    The Championships is also an opportunity to showcase talent to attending recruiters from leading colleges and universities, including MIT and Yale University. All participants have the option to apply for $50 million in scholarships from colleges and universities around the world.

  • Tessa Bousfield posted an article
    The Victoria team was one of only three from Canada at the competition. see more

    Source: Times Colonist
    Author: Andrew Duffy

    Greater Victoria students honoured in U.S. for robotics

    A team of Greater Victoria high school students has jousted with iron giants and come away with top marks, after a global robotics competition in Texas last week.

    The team, called 3491-FIX IT, comprised of students Guy Stoppi and Alec Krawciw of Mount Douglas Secondary, Helen Leslie from Victoria High, Aila Simpson from the Pacific School of Inquiry and Innovation and Benjamin Dam, a home-schooled student, won the First Tech Challenge competition’s Inspire Award, the highest honour available to recognize excellence in robot design and teamwork.

    Simpson was singled out for a Dean’s List Award at the First Tech Challenge robotics contest, the first time a Canadian student has been selected.

    “It was fantastic, amazing, phenomenal,” said team coach Christine Nicholls. “From our point of view, we are a small team in a small region and to come out ahead of the big teams with big corporate money behind them is amazing.”

    Nicholls said there were about 7,000 teams vying to land one of 128 spots at the tournament in Houston. The Victoria team was one of only three from Canada at the competition.

    “All of the credit goes to the students,” she said, noting they were over the moon when they won. “They were absolutely stunned.”

    And they all now have a taste of creating, designing and engineering a machine, which is the idea behind the First program and competition.

    First is a not-for-profit organization designed to inspire young people to look at a future in science and high-tech.

    The First Tech Challenge, which challenges teams to design, build, program and operate robots to compete in a head-to-head challenge, brought together 1,200 international students to pit their engineering and design skills against each other.

    “First is all about getting kids interested in careers in science and technology,” said Nicholls. She noted First has had success on that front with its studies showing one in every three young women who take part go on to engineering studies, and most of the students involved go on to university.

    Eric Jordan, chief executive of gaming company Codename Entertainment and one of the team’s sponsors, said this kind of competition can only bode well for the tech sector. “Robots are cool. They are a great way to get high school students excited about careers in tech,” Jordan said. “The industry currently forecasts that by 2021 there will be an unmet job demand of 30,500 and this program is one of the ways in which we will address this unmet need.”

    Nicholls said the Inspire Award came down to the team’s overall excellence as it placed highly in all judged categories ranging from aesthetics, innovative design, engineering through to community outreach. But the robot, called Fermion, also had to perform. “At the start of every match the robot has to fit inside an 18”x18”x18” box and once the match starts it can open out,” she said, noting it then has to pick up a series of balls on a course, shoot them, and pick up a large yoga ball and balance it on a metre-high stand.

  • Tessa Bousfield posted an article
    The team is fine tuning their robot for the FIRST Global Championships in Houston, Texas April 19-22 see more

    Source: CHEK TV

    Victoria robotics team qualifies for world championships in Texas

    “Fermion” is a remote-controlled robot designed, built, programmed and maintained by a group of Victoria high school students. 

    “A lot of people think it’s very cool,” said team member Aila Simpson. 

    The students from Mount Douglas Secondary School, Victoria High and the Pacific School of Innovation and Inquiry are part of a local robotics team called FIX-IT 3491. 

    The team is fine tuning their robot for the FIRST Global Championships in Houston, Texas on April 19 to 22. 

    “We work with new mechanisms and programs that we have and update our strategy for each competition” said Simpson. 

    128 teams from around the world will be competing in the three-day tournament. 

    The Victoria team is one of only two teams from Canada to quality for the championships. 

    The top award will be given to the overall best team based on robot design and performance, as well as community outreach, engineering skills and teamwork. 

    “You get your robot to do autonomous things during the match,” said team member Guy Stoppi. “You can program really cool things into your robot which we’ve tried to do this season.”

    It’s not just about tech and robots – the students also learn valuable life skills from being on the team. 

    “We work on everything from time management to team building,” said coach Christine Nicholls. “We talk about how to source parts and how to fundraise.” 

    The team’s talents have garnered sponsorship from several local technology companies and organizations, including Codename Entertainment.

    “We need the next generation of students to get excited about working with technology in the future,” said Codename Entertainment CEO Eric Jordan. “Cool robots is a great way to do that.”

    The team is raising funds to cover their competition expenses through the FIX-IT 3491 team website.