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National Instruments Congratulates Austin FRC Teams in Atlanta April 13, 2010

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National Robotics Week was officially kicked off this weekend with an awesome robo-gathering of more than 500 humans and 20+ robots at the Austin Children’s Museum.

What better way for National Robotics Week to a close than at the FIRST Robotics World Championship, held in the Georgia Dome in Atlanta. Over the past few months, tens of thousands of high-schoolers have been competing in regional events all over the US, hoping to qualify and gain a coveted spot in the world championship event.

National Instruments has been there every step of the way and would like to congratulate all of the FIRST teams that will be joining in on the celebration in Atlanta. And a special shout out to the local, Austin-area teams that will be making the trip to the world championship:

Team 2583 – from Westwood Highschool, competing in Curie Division

Team 2468 – from Westlake Highschool, competing in Galileo Division

Team 647 – The Cyberwolves from Killeen Independent School District & Robert M. Shoemaker High School STEM Academy, competing in Newton Division

Good luck to everyone and GO ROBOTS!

What are you doing for National Robotics Week? April 6, 2010

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The first annual National Robotics Week is April 10-18, 2010. Several events around North America will take place to celebrate the US as a leader in robotics technology development.

Here in Austin, we’ll be throwing a robo-bash at the Austin Children’s Museum. We’ll be showing off some of our coolest NI robotics applications. We also plan on some cool give away’s, including LEGO WeDo and LEGO MINDSTORMS.

What: National Instruments/Austin Children’s Museum National Robotics Week Party

Who: NI, Austin Children’s Museum, and Austin community

When: Sunday, April 11 from 12-5 p.m. (The event will cost the price of admission to the ACM from 12-4 p.m. and will be free from 4-5 p.m.)

Where: Austin Children’s Museum – entry foyer

If you’re not in the Austin area, find out what other robot events are near you.

P.S. If you’re in or around Atlanta, you have to check out the FIRST  Robotics World Championship at the Georgia Dome. It will change your life.

PSA: Keanu Loves Robots January 11, 2010

Posted by emiliekopp in robot fun.
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There’s a clever joke I can make of this… something about The Matrix, Neo and the machines taking over… this is simply the beginning… bah!

Nice plug for FRC, though. I wonder if there will be any other celebrities at this year’s championship?

FIRST Robotics Meets the President December 1, 2009

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On November 23, President Obama announced the Educate to Innovate campaign, to improve the participation and performance of America’s students in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM). The campaign will include efforts not only from the Federal Government but also from leading companies, foundations, non-profits, and science and engineering societies to work with young people across America to excel in science and math.

“As president, I believe robotics can inspire young people to pursue science and engineering,” says Mr. Obama.

Here here!

Robotics is challenging, at times frustrating, for many reasons. As Dr. Ben Black had put it: “A roboticist has to have at minimum a working knowledge of mechanical engineering, electrical engineering, computer science / engineering and controls engineering.”

So it’s hard, to say the least. But it’s also really cool. And any young kid interested in robotics is going to get a taste of several different engineering disciplines. What better way to bring the U.S. to the top of the world-wide list in science and math education, than with robotics?

I’m obviously not the only one on this bandwagon. National Instruments invests a lot in STEM education. And so has Dean Kamen’s foundation, For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology (FIRST). FIRST has been a driving force in changing the perception of science and technology in highschool students, using robotics design competitions as a lure. NI has partnered with FIRST to provide the FIRST Robotics Compeition (FRC) control system, which includes a high-performance, industrial-grade real-time controller (NI donated CompactRIOs for the FRC Kit of Parts).

With the mission and success of FRC, it is no surprise that Mr. Obama introduced the Cougar Cannon, an FRC robot from Oakton Highschool. Students provided a demonstration of their robot in action, the flickering sounds of camera flashes almost deafening. Even The MythBusters crew was there, as onlookers to the Lunacy competition robot. Booya!

“I also want to keep an eye on those robots in case they try anything, ” said Obama.

Don’t worry, Mr. President. As stated in my updated version of Asimov’s 3 Laws of Robotics, “With Will Smith alive, no robotic apocalypse is possible.”

Here’s the full White House presentation, worth watching:

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