jump to navigation

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

Posted by emiliekopp in robot events.
Tags: , , , ,
add a comment

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

Posted by emiliekopp in robot events.
Tags: , , ,
1 comment so far

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.

Stop Robot Poverty March 11, 2010

Posted by emiliekopp in labview robot projects, robot fun.
Tags: , ,

A fun, silly video that must have been created by an FIRST Robotics team, since the featured robot is obviously made with the FRC Kit of Parts.

I recall we had a similar story at NI, a campaign to Save NItro.

Some background on NItro: Back in 2008, when FIRST announced it would be adopting  NI CompactRIO as the new controller for its robots, we wanted to help make a big splash by putting together a super robot; something  that would demonstrate all the cool, new things teams would be able to accomplish with a faster, stronger, smarter controller.

We came up with NItro, a robot with a holonomic drive, programmed in LabVIEW, that would do vision-based tracking and could shoot stress balls at a moving target (this later just turned into a loud canon that shot swag into the air for kids to catch). I think NItro was also programmed to do the Soulja Boy dance; I can’t seem to find footage of that at the moment.

But after we unveiled the new CompactRIO controller at the FRC Championships in Atlanta, NItro went dormant for awhile. The NI engineers who had worked on him went on with their lives. Later, when someone decided to take NItro for a spin, we realized we had not done a very good job of saving the LabVIEW code that controls him. So there he lay, lifeless and without a purpose. A big hunk of expensive parts.

Some people think we should tear him down for scraps. Others think we should rebuild him. What do you think?

Help save this robot from being sent to the scrap pile.

Condolences to Team #3125 and FIRST Robotics January 11, 2010

Posted by emiliekopp in Uncategorized.
Tags: , , ,
add a comment

Here on the LabVIEW Robotics blog, we are all for inspiring the roboticists of tomorrow. Thus, we were deeply saddened to learn that rookie FRC Team #3125 suffered from a school bus accident on the way to a FRC kickoff event. Here is the official statement from Paul Gudonis, President of FIRST:

It is with deep sadness that I report that one FIRST student has apparently died and 17 others were injured when a school bus carrying a group from a Hartford magnet school collided Saturday morning with another vehicle on Interstate 84 in Hartford, Conn. The school bus was evidently carrying students from the Greater Hartford Academy of Mathematics and Science to Farmington High School to attend a local FIRST Robotics Competition Kickoff event at Farmington High School. The team, #3125, is a Rookie FRC team.

Our hearts and the hearts of the entire FIRST community go out to the victims of this terrible accident and those of their families during this very difficult time. FIRST is currently assessing the situation and how best we can support the most immediate needs of our students, their families, parents, coaches and peers involved in this tragedy. The name of the student as well as the names of those injured in the accident have been withheld pending notification of families.

I know you join me in expressing our condolences for this unfortunate set of circumstances. We will post future information on Bill’s Blog.


Paul R. Gudonis

Condolences can be shared with the FRC community on the Chief Delphi forums, on this thread.

From all of us at National Instruments to the families and members of the Team #3125, please know our thoughts are with you during this difficult time.

PSA: Keanu Loves Robots January 11, 2010

Posted by emiliekopp in robot fun.
Tags: , , , , ,
add a comment

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

Posted by emiliekopp in robot events.
Tags: , , , , , ,

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:

Vodpod videos no longer available.
more about “FIRST Robotics Meets the President“, posted with vodpod