Saturday, June 09, 2007

NYCFIRST Update #4: Pentathlon/VEX Today at Aviation HS – June 9, 2007

A newsletter for the NYCFIRST robotics community in New York City and the surrounding area. If you want to be removed from this list type “remove” in the subject are and hit return.

Compiled by Norman Scott
NYCFIRST Registration coordinator

These updates are posted at Norm’s Robotics blog:

Pentathlon/VEX Today at Aviation HS
A reminder that you’re all invited to come to Aviation HS in Long Island City, Queens today from 9-2 for an exciting day of robotics to be held in the aircraft hanger of the school, tours of the facilities, opportunities to see a variety of aircraft, etc. Last year we were treated to seeing (and hearing) the power of a jet engine. Aviation HS trains students for a wide variety of jobs in the aircraft industry and is truly one of the unique schools in the nation.

The school is located at Queens Blvd and 36th St. in LIC. The #7 train stops a few blocks away.

2007 Region 4 Robotics Pentathlon: June 9 at Aviation HS
Contact Stephen Shapinsky
Technology Staff Developer Region 4
To see what the event will look like (and get a sense of the events), see the gallery of images from last year at:

Region 4 VEX tournament on June 9 at Aviation HS
Contact Stephen Shapinsky
A VEX event will be held concurrently with the Pentathlon Challenge on June 9 at Aviation HS.
The Region 4 Spring Vex Challenge is up for viewing or downloading at:

Registration Report as of June 9: 47 teams
Teams registered since May 30:
1418 Satellite 3/MS 103 Gillian Edwin
1482 Brooklyn Children’s Museum Gillianne Roberts
1483 Brooklyn Children’s Museum Gillianne Roberts
1610 PS 270 K The Dekalb School Mitra Lutchman
1629 PS/MS 194X Cynthia Khadaran
1634 ESMT IS 190 X Maribeth Whitehouse
1635 IS 318 X Ian Chow-Miller
1654 PS 21K Crispus Attucks School Carla Arnold

View spreadsheet of teams previously registered at:

If you have registered, please check to see if information is current. Notify me of any changes.

If you have any intention of taking part next year, I urge you to register before the school year is out as there is a limited number of field set-up kits. Last year we had problems over this issue with schools scrambling to get kits.

If you can pay now, you should have your set-up kit just about the time you get back to school. If you are also ordering the NXT or RCX materials you will receive those immediately.

If you cannot get a PO now, check the box “Pay with a check” for now and that should let the registration go through. You have until after registration closes at the end of Sept. to pay but nothing will be shipped until you do pay. This will also cause delays in getting you started, especially if you have to track down a PO in the hubbub of the opening weeks of school.

As usual, registration is no guarantee of entry into the citywide event.

FLL Planning Committee Meeting: Qualification Tournaments
We’re still working towards setting up preliminary events that will be more standardized and will include judging. The tight time frame makes things tricky.
We are not at the point in where we can make a final decision as to whether borough/regional tournaments can truly be qualifiers this year but will keep you informed. It is hard to tell how many teams we can expect to register due to the unsettling aspects of the current reorganization and the impact of the extensive testing program being implemented.

The Botline
News & Information from the Carnegie Mellon University Robotics Academy

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For Teachers and Administrators Interested in Robotics

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The Robotics Academy is very pleased to announce the addition of many new presenters for the Robotics Educators Conference. The conference is being facilitated by Carnegie Mellon’s Robotics Academy and its partners in the Robotics Corridor project,

Robotics Educators Conference
August 16 & 17 – Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

The conference is being hosted at Butler County Community College, one of the premier Community Colleges in the United States, which is located 20 miles north of Pittsburgh. The conference will allow regional and national educators to look various options to teach robotics education.

New presenters at the conference include:

Dr. Robert Rasmussen, Director of Tufts Center for Engineering Education Outreach. Dr. Rasmussen will present resources that are available through

Dick Swan, programmer; developer of ROBOTC. Dick will share inside secrets that will allow your robot to perform better. ROBOTC is becoming a standard in educational robotics. Currently ROBOTC talks to the RCX, VEX, NXT, FIRST controller, and other pic controllers. Dick will offer beginner and advanced sessions.

Dennis Batemen, project manager for ROBOT250: ROBOT250 is an idea inspired by Illah Nourbakhsh, Carnegie Mellon faculty. ROBOT250 is a celebration of robotics across western Pennsylvania. See

Dr. Stan Komacek, California University of Pennsylvania. Stan will be presenting accomplishments of the Robotics 2+2+2 Initiative. The 2+2+2 project is starting it’s third year this fall and is making a difference in how children learn.

Professor Jeanine Meyers, Purchase College. Jeanine is master teacher who uses innovative ways to excite her students about programming. Jeanine will talk about implanting a robotics program despite limited support and resources at Purchase College. See

Tom Burick, inventor of the PC-BOT, winner of FUTURE TECHNOLOGY’S BEST IN SHOW AWARD at the Digital Life exhibition in New York. PC-BOT designer Tom will showcase this new technology that begins to preview some of the future applications of robotics. See

Professor CJ Chung, Lawrence Technological University, founder of ROBOFEST. CJ will let us know how we can be part of a very inexpensive solution for educators everywhere.

Terri Varnado, faculty, North Carolina State College. Terri prepares technology education teachers to teach about technology. She will talk about her research in education, technology, and robotics. It will be a very good talk.

Dr. Catherine Helgoe, LEGO Education International. Cathy will be presenting using the NXT in classrooms across the world to teach technological literacy and mathematical competency.

Denton Daily, faculty, Butler County Community College; author of Electronic Devices and Circuits: Discrete and Integrated; project lead for the Robotics Corridor Project for BC3. Denton will demonstrate electronics and embedded systems that he teaches in his classes and will be making available to teachers nationally.

Professor Michael Amrhein, California University of Pennsylvania; California University VEX Robotics Competition. Mike is currently teaching the first year robotics course at California University. Mike will discuss the outline of his course as well as his annual VEX robotics competition at California University.

George Bilokonsky, director, Cuyahoga Community College Youth Technology Academy. George will present his comprehensive robotics intervention program and how his team is working with inner city youth in Cleveland, Ohio. His Youth Technology Academy has won numerous prestigious awards. George will share his research; what he’s learned as well as the future of his program.

TeRK – The telepresence educational robotics kit + Gigapan. Developed in Illah Nourbakaush’s lab, TeRK may be the next generation controller for robotic enthusiasts across the globe. To preview these exciting technologies go to: and

Eli Silk, researcher, University of Pittsburgh / Ross Higashi, Carnegie Mellon University. Eli and Ross will present the lessons that they’ve learned in the first year of a three year study that involves mapping what robotics teaches with standards covered in education today.

Dr. Michael Donohoe, project manager, robotics associate degree development, California University of Pennsylvania. Mike left a senior management position with Respironics Inc. to change children’s lives through robotics. Mike will present his vision of the California University Robotics Corridor Project. At CALU they are developing an associate degree program in robotics with articulation agreements with high schools and community colleges across the United States.

Carmen Grosse, BotsIQ western Pennsylvania. Carmen has been instrumental in bringing the BotsIQ competition to Western Pa. Carmen will introduce several teachers and allow them to tell their stories. See

There will be many other presentations about robotic solutions in schools.

For more information about the conference or presenting, contact Robin Shoop at

See you there.


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