Competitions

Amazon Discusses Warehouse Automation and Machine Learning

The Amazon Robotics Challenge was created to inspire the next generation of inventors and we were blown away by what we saw. It was so inspiring to see what these teams brought to the table that it’s hard not to be optimistic about the future of robotics. Brad Porter, V.P. of Robotics at Amazon, about the latest advances in the field and how his team is using machine learning to make its robots smarter. 

There have been so many advances in robotics and yet, we still are in the very beginning stages of innovation and we’re still learning how to best work with robotics. At Amazon, we have to consider the range of inventory items we’re dealing with and when it comes to robotic solutions, that in and of itself, is a challenge for us. We also have to consider the scale in which we deploy robots. It’s great if we test a robot in a small environment and it works perfectly, but we need it to also work in a larger environment without disrupting the entire fulfillment process. I’m so impressed with what my team has been able to achieve in the past few years and I’m excited to see how they overcome these obstacles. 

Amazon Robotics Competition

FIRST Championship About Way More Than Robotics

It’s about the lessons it teaches its students, the empowerment it creates for its teachers, and the love of learning it fosters among all involved. FIRST Championship is the shining example of everything FIRST values: teamwork within and between teams; learning and on-the-fly problem-solving; “Coopertition®,” which is what we like to call displays of unqualified kindness and respect in the face of fierce competition; and “Gracious Professionalism®,” which encourages high-quality work, emphasizes the value of others, and shows respect for everyone.

FIRST Championship is an incredible experience with many lessons, but there are three that can be applied to every classroom.

1. It’s not about winning—it’s about the journey

Competition is about so much more than who comes out on top. True winning means we’ve inspired a real love of learning in our students, teaching them to solve problems, work collaboratively, and communicate with others. Most important, it teaches them humility and resilience in the face of failure, and the innovation and creativity they need to overcome these obstacles. Our students frequently tell us they leave our program as very different people than when they joined. They transform from timid to confident leaders, from hesitant to adept engineers, and it’s a pleasure for us to watch them grow.


"What's So Cool About Manufacturing," Contest in Pennsylvania

While there are many initiatives across the country to encourage young students to study STEM subjects and pursue technical careers, one effort does this in a way that pairs learning about manufacturing with developing video production skills. The “What’s So Cool About Manufacturing?” contest is an annual event that allows students from across the state of Pennsylvania to explore different career options in manufacturing by meeting with a local company, and then creating and filming a video that explores that company’s products and services. This opportunity provides the students with experience in planning, scripting, and shooting video content, while at the same time exposes them to what it is like to work in the manufacturing industry, and the different types of career options offered.
 
The contest, which is funded under a 2013 grant from the Pennsylvania Department of Community & Economic Development’s “Discovered in PA, Developed in PA” program, was created by the Manufacturer’s Resource Center (MRC) and provides students and their teachers (who function as coaches) with camera equipment and video production software to use in creating their entries. The contest has expanded to a total of eleven additional states under the Dream It. Do It. brand that was created by the Manufacturing Institute in Washington, DC.
 
What's So Cool About Manufacturing

Skills USA Members Joined by the Secretary of Education in Support of Career and Technical Education

Students representing career and technical education (CTE) programs in 29 states met with congressional representatives Sept. 26 after hearing the Secretary of Education call SkillsUSA “an integral part of their educational experience.” The students were attending the annual Washington Leadership Training Institute (WLTI) to learn to be better advocates for public career education. During the Sept. 23-27 event, they visited their congressional representatives and paid respects at Arlington National Cemetery’s Tomb of the Unknowns as well as the Pentagon 9/11 Memorial. The annual WLTI, with 506 attendees, was the largest in SkillsUSA’s 52-year history.

Skills USA

Carmel students advance to FTC Super-Regional robotics competition

Students from Carmel Catholic High School’s Varsity Robotics team (NYAN Robotics) are advancing  to the FIRST Tech Challenge (FTC) North Super-Regional robotics tournament March 29 - April 1 at the U.S. Cellular Center/DoubleTree Hotel & Convention Center in Cedar Rapids, IA.


Virtual and Augmented Reality Learning Experience - DOE Launches $680,000 Challenge

Simulated environments, such as virtual and augmented reality, 3D simulations, and multiplayer video games, are emerging approaches to deliver educational content. Research indicates that simulation-based learning provides students with enriched experiences in information retention, engagement, skills acquisition, and learning outcomes.The EdSim Challenge seeks next-generation educational simulations that strengthen academic, technical, and employability skills. The Department is most interested in immersive and engaging simulations that include clearly defined learning goals and build diverse skill sets.The purpose of this Challenge is to stimulate the marketplace for computer-generated virtual and augmented reality educational experiences that combine existing and future technologies with skill-building content and embedded assessment. The developer community is encouraged to make aspects of simulations available through open source licenses and low-cost shareable components.


Samsung's "SOLVE FOR TOMORROW" STEM Education Contest Awards $40,000 to Fifteen Finalists. Grand Prize Winners to Receive $120,000

When their teacher asked them to take a hard look at issues affecting people in their community, one group of students in Missouri noticed that some of their peers with disabilities had trouble staying upright in their wheelchairs. And so, the students got to work with compressed cardboard, cutting and shaping various components to find which ones would create classroom furniture that would make their friends most comfortable. This is the essence of Samsung’s Solve for Tomorrow contest, which challenges students to tap into their STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) skills to create innovative solutions to problems they observe in their communities. The students in Missouri were recently named one of the 15 national finalists by Samsung Electronics America (SEA).
 


Samsungs "Solve for Tomorrow" Program

Samsung Electronics America (SEA) announced the launch of the company’s 6th annual Samsung Solve for Tomorrow (#SamsungSolve) program and the call for entry submissions. Samsung’s flagship citizenship initiative is one of many innovative programs designed to address the growing education gap and career development shortage in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) in the U.S. 

Samsungs "Solve for Tomorrow"

MTConnect Student Challenge Sponsored by Association for Manufacturing Technology and Office of the Secretary of Defense

College students with an interest in bringing together software and hardware solutions to improve manufacturing operations now have an opportunity to leverage their creativity and innovative know-how through the MTConnect Student Challenge, a competition that invites submissions for both ideas and applications utilizing the MTConnect standard. The MTConnect Student Challenge is offering a total of $33,000 in cash prizes for winning submissions. MTConnect is an open-source, XML-based communications standard that fosters connectivity between manufacturing equipment and devices. This Challenge builds on the success of previous competitions that sought submissions from industry professionals related to the use of MTConnect. The MTConnect Student Challenge is open to community college and university students at the undergraduate and graduate level and may be of particular interest to students who are studying manufacturing-related fields; electrical, mechanical or industrial engineering; as well as software engineering and IT-related studies. http://www.challenge.gov/challenge/mtconnectstudentideas/


U.S. Department of Education - Investing in Innovation (i3) Grant Competition

The U.S. Department of Education announced the start of the $134 million 2014 Investing in Innovation (i3) grant competition on March 14th, 2014 with the release of the program's invitation for pre-applications for the i3 "Development" grants (up to $3,000,000 each). In its fifth round of competition, the i3 program continues to develop and expand practices that accelerate student achievement and prepare every student to succeed in college and in their careers. The i3 program includes three grant categories: Development, Validation and Scale-up. The Department plans to announce applications for the Validation and Scale-up categories this spring.

Author: 
Scott Brown

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