Presenter's Essay and Bio
This will be an evening of hands on learning and creative fun. We will demonstrate the robot that won last year’s Roborave “a-MAZE-ing” challenge and then help you build and program a lego mindstorm robot.
Some of you may have read Isaac Asimov’s book or seen the movie adaptation “I Robot”. Do you know his ‘Three Laws of Robotics”?
1) A robot may not injure a human being or, through inaction, allow a human being to come to harm. 2) A robot must obey orders given it by human beings except where such orders would conflict with the First Law. 3) A robot must protect its own existence as long as such protection does not conflict with the First or Second Law. Your generation may very well have to grapple with conflict among those three laws that Isaac thought up back in 1950.
Robots have become a part of our everyday lives. You probably have one in your pocket right now. Keep it there! No texting!
At this Café, we will have Legos, Legos with gears, Legos that have motors, Lego wheels, battery packs, computer modules, cables, and of course more Legos. We also have laptops for programming the modules. All of this can come together to create a programmable robot that can perform tasks.
Our plan for our evening of Café Scientifiqué: Following a demonstration by the Roborave Team, we will split up into teams, each building a robot from scratch that can be programmed to move between the two lines of tape on the floor.
The Roborave Team: Cristian Madrid, Liam Silverman, and Emmett Moulton. Cristian, Liam, and Emmett have been involved with robotics since that first robotics event in 2012 and together have made up the Café Scientifique leadership team.
Cristian Madrid is a senior at McCurdy Charter School and has been involved with Moving Arts of Espanola as a student, intern, and ultimately a teacher.
Liam Silverman lives in Embudo and is a senior at Taos Academy. He plans on attending film school at UNM and is a photographer.
Emmett Moulton lives in Embudo and is a senior at Taos Academy. He along with four other students just won best in nation (1800 entries!) in the Verizon APP challenge 2017 for creating a suicide prevention app.
Roborave International’s Motto is: “Today’s Play, Tomorrow’s Pay”
Project Y is a club organization at Los Alamos High School, and is affiliated with FIRST. FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology--firstinspires.org) is an international non-profit organization with the goal of inspiring youth to become leaders in the fields of science and technology and to transform our culture into one where science and technology are celebrated. FIRST has grown over the past twenty plus years into an graduated series of competitions that challenge students of all ages from elementary through high school. Project Y was formed six years ago to compete in the high school level FIRST Robotics Competition.
Over the past six years the Team has competed in several regional competitions in Salt Lake City, Flagstaff, Denver, and Lubbock. The regional competitions involve teams from many different states (including New Mexico, Texas, Arizona, Colorado, Idaho, Utah, Wyoming, California, Arkansas, Massachusetts, and Hawaii) and international teams (Canada, Mexico, China, and United Arab Emirates). In 2014 the Team reached the finals in the Lubbock competition and in 2015 won the Control Innovation award at the Lubbock regional. This year we are competing in a game called Steamworks at Flagstaff and Denver.
FIRST Robotics competitions involve two alliances of three robots each that play a 2:30 game. The first 15 seconds of the match are autonomous and the remainder are operator controlled. Alliances during the qualification matches are randomly seeded after which there is an alliance selection for the elimination round. Past challenges have involved shooting basketballs, balancing on a teeter-totter, shooting Frisbees, lifting the robot, shooting a yoga exercise ball, stacking totes, driving under and over obstacles, opening a drawbridge, crossing a cheval de frise, and cooperating with other robots to score points. This year's game is called Steamworks, and involves several elements: placing an 11” gear on a peg, shooting a 5” diameter wiffle ball into either a low goal or a high goal approximately 7 ft. off the ground, defense, and in the last 30 seconds of the match climbing a rope. All of that is done by a robot that weighs less than 120 lbs., is approximately 30”x32” by 36” high, and was designed and constructed by the Team in six weeks.
Competition is an organizing principle for the Team, but more importantly, Project Y gives students an opportunity to explore STEM education through practical application: designing, building, prototyping, and innovating. We are also looking to expand awareness of the FIRST program and FIRST Team 4153 conducts various outreach efforts throughout the local community at various STEM education events and programs. This year our outreach efforts include the Los Alamos ScienceFest, and the Christmas lighted parade. The many positive reactions from kids and their parents demonstrate that the Team is having success in our outreach goals in the community to increase awareness and interest in STEM education. Our goal is to promote and inspire students through science and technology education. In this way, we help to grow the next generation of science and technology leaders.
About the Presenter
Tracy Galligan (Taos), John Moulton(Española), Andrew Erickson (Los Alamos)
I am not a scientist nor am I an engineer. As a child in Massachusetts and New Hampshire, I was always taking things apart and putting them back together again. The son of an electrical contractor, I learned to read electrical blueprint symbols before I could read words. I would go to work with my dad and pour over the plans with him calling out where the outlets and switches and lights needed to be. Then I found Legos. What a collection I gathered. Back then they were simple, just a few size choices, but my friends & I could spend entire days putting together some fantastic attempts at a lego short wave radio or a town’s worth of buildings.
When I was 10 we moved from the suburbs of Boston to the mountains of New Hampshire. In the town we lived in there was a dump... but not just any dump. It was a very small village, and the dump had been in the same little hollow for well over a hundred years. If you worked your way back through the mess and dug around in the undergrowth, you could find original Edison light bulbs; further forward would be an old radio from the depression era or old toasters, motors, you name it. I spent my days digging around and decided that with all of that junk I could build myself a robot. I must have spent an entire summer gathering pieces of things and parts of machinery. I never did get a robot out of it, but in my attempt, I became fascinated with design and engineering.
At the age of twelve I got my first electric saber saw and drill. I started building simple shelves and boxes. By the age of eighteen, I had designed my own oak pedestal bed in our basement workshop. I finished it only to discover that I couldn’t get it out of the basement. A few more days of work and I figured out how to split it in two for the hike up the stairs. In the final analysis, the changes ended up improving the beauty & function of the bed.
I’m fifty-eight now. I have been self-employed and have provided employment for numerous woodworkers and cabinetmakers for over thirty-seven years. My career has been diverse. I have spent many years designing and building one of a kind pieces of furniture such as dining room sets, beds, desks, bookcases, and hutches, as well as designing and crafting kitchen and bath cabinetry. I currently have a shop/showroom in Velarde, New Mexico, and spend most of my time designing kitchens. I love my job. It is a beautiful blend of engineering and art, form and function that requires the knowledge of both science and engineering.
I have three sons and a daughter ranging in age from thirty-four to fourteen. In 2012, I brought my son Emmett and his friends Liam and Cristian to a robotics café here at the college. They were all in eighth grade and were the little munchkins in the room surrounded by Seniors and Juniors from Española and Pojoaque.
Two hours later, they were the only team to get a lego robot built and down the track. In 2014, the team entered the Roborave International competition in Albuquerque and won 1st place in the “a-MAZE-ing” challenge. They were competing against teams from as far away as Beijing, China, and Bogota, Colombia. In 2016, they returned to the competition and won 1st place again!
I was born in Detroit, MI and moved around to several locations while growing up. I attended high school in Jamestown, NY, graduating in 1983. In high school I wanted to be either a mechanical engineer or a auto mechanic. I decided on mechanical engineering and went to Rochester Institute of Technology to study—primarily because they had a cooperative education program as part of the engineering curriculum. During college I worked at a nuclear power plant as a civil engineer, a pump manufacturer as a manufacturing engineer, and in Sweden for an aluminum wire and rod manufacturing company on the aluminum casting line. Following graduating with a bachelor of engineering, I joined the Navy because I wasn't sure that I wanted to sit behind a desk all day. I was an officer on-board a nuclear submarine for five years, where I sailed across the Pacific, under ice, and across the equator.
Following my naval career, I joined a consulting company providing engineering, operations, and training support largely to Department of Energy facilities at Hanford, Los Alamos, and Nevada. I joined Los Alamos National Laboratory in 2000 after the Cerro Grande fire, working in facility management. In 2004 I received a Master's in Business Administration from the University of New Mexico. Over the past 16 years I have worked to support a wide variety of facilities and operations at the Laboratory. I am currently the Division Leader for the Utilities and Institutional Facilities, where I am responsible for the Laboratory's utilities, roads, data centers, administrative, and support facilities. In my career I have led and overseen the development, construction, and operation of a wide range of projects and activities, including a gas turbine and a wastewater reclamation facility.
My son joined the LAHS robotics club in its inaugural year when he was a freshman after hearing about the FIRST program from his uncle who teaches high school physics in Seattle. After watching the program for a couple years, I saw the value and inspiration for students in terms of practical engineering and challenges that were not otherwise readily available. I believe that there is a powerful synergy between formal education and relevant experience, and that coupling them can enhance the quality of both.
I began mentoring the LAHS Robotics Team, FIRST Team 4153—Project Y, and for the last two years I have served as the lead mentor for the Team. Project Y is a unique opportunity for students to challenge themselves on a real world project and learn new skills, while applying them to practical experiences. While attending Kettering University in Flint, Michigan, my son is mentoring a FIRST robotics team comprised of disadvantaged students with limited exposure to STEM education.
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