91 episodes

An in-depth look at the games and teams of the FIRST Robotics programs.

FIRST Looks (Video) PLUGHITZ Live

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An in-depth look at the games and teams of the FIRST Robotics programs.

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    Combat Robotics presented by Purple Fire @ ROBOTICON Tampa Bay 2018

    Combat Robotics presented by Purple Fire @ ROBOTICON Tampa Bay 2018

    DescriptionAs many of our viewers know, our host Daniele just graduated from Florida Polytechnic University in Lakeland, Florida. This school is unique for a number of reasons, but its focus on STEM-based education is its standout feature. Having a school like this means that students can more easily find activities that align with their areas of study or their overall areas of interest. One of those activities is Purple Fire Robotics, a robotics team and alumni association at the school.
    While we have talked in the past about the general activities of Purple Fire, this year we got to speak with Jacob about a new robotics initiative that he is involved with: Combat Robotics. While separate and apart from, the program is similar in nature to the BattleBots program. Teams build robots with the goal of knocking out or highly damaging their opponent's robot - a different intention from that of FIRST.
    Jacob recognized the benefits of learning through combat robotics, however, and is working to bring National Robotics League competition to high schools and colleges. While the environment of FIRST helps to teach particular aspects of engineering, NRL competition has the ability to hone other engineering skills. The need to protect the body, drive train, and control system of NRL robots means learning about different materials and defensive tactics for design. These same principles are used every day when you look at the design of things like laptops, tablets, and phones - all of which need protection from drops.
    Even though the nature of NRL is far more actively competitive, being one-on-one competition, the organization still fosters the same core values of FIRST. One team can completely destroy another team's robot and, after the match, will go over and help them rebuild, and then have lunch together.
    For more on NRL, or to find an event in your area. check out their website.
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    Whether you're programming a robot, playing a game or doing homework, the Microsoft Surface is the tablet that can replace your laptop. Get yours at the Microsoft Store.

    ParticipantsScott ErtzHost, Episode AuthorScott is a developer who has worked on projects of varying sizes, including all of the PLuGHiTz Corporation properties. He is also known in the gaming world for his time supporting the DDR community, through DDRLover and hosting tournaments throughout the Tampa Bar Area. Currently, when he is not working on software projects or hosting F5 Live: Refreshing Technology, Scott can often be found returning to his high school days working with the Foundation for Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology (FIRST), mentoring teams and judging engineering notebooks at competitions. He has also helped found a student software learning group, the ASCII Warriors.

    Daniele MendezHostDaniele is a student at Florida Polytechnic University who is studying Computer Science with a concentration in Cyber Security. In High School, she was introduced to the science and technology world through the Foundation for Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology (FIRST), a robotics foundation where students of varying ages can compete through tasks that their robots perform. With help from mentors she met through FIRST, she became interested in programming and developing. Today, Daniele is a special events host for F5 Live: Refreshing Technology and PLuGHiTz Live Special Events and a co-host for both The New Product Launchpad and FIRST Looks.

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    • 19 min
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    Middleton Robotics President Manu @ ROBOTICON Tampa Bay 2018

    Middleton Robotics President Manu @ ROBOTICON Tampa Bay 2018

    DescriptionIf you're involved in the FIRST community in Florida, then you are almost certainly aware of Middleton Robotics. The program is housed at the STEM magnet program at Middleton High School in Tampa, Florida, and has made a big name for themselves. Having one FIRST Robotics Competition team, currently two FIRST Tech Challenge teams (formerly three), as well as participating in VEX with two teams, Middleton knows how to compete.
    At ROBOTICON Tampa Bay, we had the opportunity to speak with Manu, the President of Middleton Robotics. He is a three year veteran of FIRST Tech Challenge Team 3846 Maelstrom, but for his senior year switched to FIRST Robotics Competition Team 1369 Minotaur. This switch is because of the sheer volume of scholarships that are made available exclusively to FIRST Robotics Competition team members, meaning that seniors are best-served long-term as a Minotaur team member.
    Coming into his Freshman year, Manu had no real robotics experience. However, knowing about Middleton's reputation as a world championship club is what attracted him to the school and the STEM program in the first place. Having the ability to participate in a program with teams in a variety of leagues has given him a better understanding of the similarities and differences between challenges. After switching from FIRST Tech Challenge to FIRST Robotics Competition, he noticed that there are a lot of similarities between the programs. The larger scale, however, allows for more people to be involved in the build, as well as adding a need for more detailed communication.
    One of the big challenges he experienced was in the schedule of the competition. FIRST Robotics Competition starts its season in January, meaning that, for the first half of a new school year, you're having to learn the old game, despite it not having a lot of real-world value. Fortunately, ROBOTICON gives students who are new to the program the opportunity to experience a competition environment and practice with last year's game and robot before their new season begins.
    Sponsored by:

    Support our coverage by shopping Amazon here.

    Whether you're programming a robot, playing a game or doing homework, the Microsoft Surface is the tablet that can replace your laptop. Get yours at the Microsoft Store.

    ParticipantsScott ErtzHost, Episode AuthorScott is a developer who has worked on projects of varying sizes, including all of the PLuGHiTz Corporation properties. He is also known in the gaming world for his time supporting the DDR community, through DDRLover and hosting tournaments throughout the Tampa Bar Area. Currently, when he is not working on software projects or hosting F5 Live: Refreshing Technology, Scott can often be found returning to his high school days working with the Foundation for Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology (FIRST), mentoring teams and judging engineering notebooks at competitions. He has also helped found a student software learning group, the ASCII Warriors.

    Daniele MendezHostDaniele is a student at Florida Polytechnic University who is studying Computer Science with a concentration in Cyber Security. In High School, she was introduced to the science and technology world through the Foundation for Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology (FIRST), a robotics foundation where students of varying ages can compete through tasks that their robots perform. With help from mentors she met through FIRST, she became interested in programming and developing. Today, Daniele is a special events host for F5 Live: Refreshing Technology and PLuGHiTz Live Special Events and a co-host for both The New Product Launchpad and FIRST Looks.

    Live DiscussionPowered by Microsoft Store

    • 9 min
    • video
    FIRST LEGO League in South Florida @ ROBOTICON Tampa Bay 2018

    FIRST LEGO League in South Florida @ ROBOTICON Tampa Bay 2018

    DescriptionOne of the most exciting parts of ROBOTICON Tampa Bay is the way it brings together some of the best volunteers and staff within the FIRST community from all over the state of Florida. One of those wonderful people in attendance in 2018 was Stacey Jones, the Affiliate Partner for FIRST LEGO League and FIRST LEGO League Jr. in South Florida. Stacey has been involved with FIRST for over 20 years in a variety of roles. Stacey is such an important part of the Florida community that she won the 2019 Volunteer of the Year Award at FIRST Championship in Detroit.
    As the Affiliate Partner, Stacey is responsible for scheduling and planning all of the events for both FIRST LEGO League and FIRST LEGO League Jr., including tournaments and research presentations. She also makes sure that everyone involved, such as coaches and judges, get the training they need to be successful in their roles. Most importantly, she is responsible for making sure that everyone experiences calm events and a smooth season. Fortunately, FIRST provides a host of resources to help her with those goals, which also provide an opportunity to try for a consistent experience, whether students are in South Florida or Los Angeles.
    This season, the South Florida group has been lucky to attract some new sponsors who are just as excited about FIRST as Stacey is. One partnership is with Netflix, particularly with the reboot of the 90s series Reboot. The new version of the series, Reboot: The Guardian Code, addresses a more modern version of the computer - not focusing on the struggles of an old mainframe, but instead on the interconnectivity of the internet. A few students are chosen to help defect the internet, including with the help of the original animated cast. In addition, she has been working with INFENTO, who produces a modular system for ridable robotics.
    Sponsored by:

    Support our coverage by shopping Amazon here.

    Whether you're programming a robot, playing a game or doing homework, the Microsoft Surface is the tablet that can replace your laptop. Get yours at the Microsoft Store.

    ParticipantsScott ErtzHost, Episode AuthorScott is a developer who has worked on projects of varying sizes, including all of the PLuGHiTz Corporation properties. He is also known in the gaming world for his time supporting the DDR community, through DDRLover and hosting tournaments throughout the Tampa Bar Area. Currently, when he is not working on software projects or hosting F5 Live: Refreshing Technology, Scott can often be found returning to his high school days working with the Foundation for Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology (FIRST), mentoring teams and judging engineering notebooks at competitions. He has also helped found a student software learning group, the ASCII Warriors.

    Daniele MendezHostDaniele is a student at Florida Polytechnic University who is studying Computer Science with a concentration in Cyber Security. In High School, she was introduced to the science and technology world through the Foundation for Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology (FIRST), a robotics foundation where students of varying ages can compete through tasks that their robots perform. With help from mentors she met through FIRST, she became interested in programming and developing. Today, Daniele is a special events host for F5 Live: Refreshing Technology and PLuGHiTz Live Special Events and a co-host for both The New Product Launchpad and FIRST Looks.

    Live DiscussionPowered by Microsoft Store

    • 13 min
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    Tie Dye Gummy Divas (FLL 30648) @ ROBOTICON Tampa Bay 2018

    Tie Dye Gummy Divas (FLL 30648) @ ROBOTICON Tampa Bay 2018

    DescriptionWhile most of the time, FIRST Looks gets the opportunity to speak with members of FIRST Robotics Competition and FIRST Tech Challenge teams, we always look forward to our experiences with FIRST LEGO League team members. These students, while very young, are some of the most energetic and passionate, both about their teams and about FIRST in general. During ROBOTICON Tampa Bay 2018, the team spoke with Chloe from the Tie Dye Gummy Divas, Team 30648. The adorable team name came from combining one word from each team member, making it a true team effort.
    Showing the team's excitement for the season, the team members all have a similar, but unique look. All of the girls were wearing a team shirt, matching rainbow tutu, and space-themed leggings, which match the theme for the season. Each member, however, had their own design for their leggings, getting to show off a little about themselves. This is a big part of the FIRST LEGO League program, with awards being given to the team with the most "team spirit."
    For the Gummy Divas, there aren't exactly roles. The students get the opportunity to try different aspects of the build and research project and then focus on the aspects that they enjoy the most. For Chloe, that's been all about programming and building, while her friends have focused on other aspects of the season, like the research project. The project for the year is to think of the problems that would be encountered by people trying to live in space and help address those problems.
    When thinking about the future of space travel and exploration, Chloe is very excited. She says that "it takes your breath away, figurately and literally." Profound words from a very smart girl. She believes that, in the future, we will find a way to live in space for more than just a few years, with colonies being built. She's also excited about the things that she's learning now in FIRST about robotics could one day help astronauts on other planets.
    Sponsored by:

    Support our coverage by shopping Amazon here.

    Whether you're programming a robot, playing a game or doing homework, the Microsoft Surface is the tablet that can replace your laptop. Get yours at the Microsoft Store.

    ParticipantsScott ErtzHost, Episode AuthorScott is a developer who has worked on projects of varying sizes, including all of the PLuGHiTz Corporation properties. He is also known in the gaming world for his time supporting the DDR community, through DDRLover and hosting tournaments throughout the Tampa Bar Area. Currently, when he is not working on software projects or hosting F5 Live: Refreshing Technology, Scott can often be found returning to his high school days working with the Foundation for Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology (FIRST), mentoring teams and judging engineering notebooks at competitions. He has also helped found a student software learning group, the ASCII Warriors.

    Daniele MendezHostDaniele is a student at Florida Polytechnic University who is studying Computer Science with a concentration in Cyber Security. In High School, she was introduced to the science and technology world through the Foundation for Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology (FIRST), a robotics foundation where students of varying ages can compete through tasks that their robots perform. With help from mentors she met through FIRST, she became interested in programming and developing. Today, Daniele is a special events host for F5 Live: Refreshing Technology and PLuGHiTz Live Special Events and a co-host for both The New Product Launchpad and FIRST Looks.

    Live DiscussionPowered by Microsoft Store

    • 9 min
    • video
    Volunteer Spotlight: Sampad Acharya @ ROBOTICON Tampa Bay 2018

    Volunteer Spotlight: Sampad Acharya @ ROBOTICON Tampa Bay 2018

    DescriptionROBOTICON is held in USF's Yuengling center, and there the engineering department always puts on an Expo that showcases the different engineering clubs and organizations at USF. Of course, this expo could not happen without all the hard work of the volunteers and the team is joined by Sampad the volunteer coordinator for USF's Expo.
    Sampad Acharya or Sam is a second-year electrical science Ph.D. student at USF. In 2017 he came from India to continue his education in electrical and commuter science. He is at Roboticon managing 54 people from 20 different organization and research groups. His job is to make sure all the exhibitors have the supplies that they need and he is in charge of making sure that they are feed. The only issue Sam has faced was missing the volunteer lunch because he had been working. Sampad is a hard worker and is passionate about learning.
    He goes into detail about how much he does around campus and in different organization. He is a Teacher's Assistant for a lab in the fundamentals of logic and design and conducts research involved in computer sciences. Moreover, he is the IEEE workshop chair at USF and through this program, he has met and taught other FIRST students. Sam explains how he got involved in IEEE by going to a quality free food banquet at an IEEE event, where he met lots of inspiring people and he decided that he wanted to get involved.
    When Sam talked about his experience in the electrical engineering field he has already had experience working in India as a researcher for two colleges and at different engineering companies. He came to Florida because he wanted to expand his knowledge of artificial intelligence and programming.
    To learn more about IEEE student chapter at USF IEEE USF. Also, to learn more about Sampad Acharya visit his LinkedIn IEEE USF.
    Sponsored by:

    Support our coverage by shopping Amazon here.

    Whether you're programming a robot, playing a game or doing homework, the Microsoft Surface is the tablet that can replace your laptop. Get yours at the Microsoft Store.

    ParticipantsScott ErtzHostScott is a developer who has worked on projects of varying sizes, including all of the PLuGHiTz Corporation properties. He is also known in the gaming world for his time supporting the DDR community, through DDRLover and hosting tournaments throughout the Tampa Bar Area. Currently, when he is not working on software projects or hosting F5 Live: Refreshing Technology, Scott can often be found returning to his high school days working with the Foundation for Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology (FIRST), mentoring teams and judging engineering notebooks at competitions. He has also helped found a student software learning group, the ASCII Warriors.

    Daniele MendezHostDaniele is a student at Florida Polytechnic University who is studying Computer Science with a concentration in Cyber Security. In High School, she was introduced to the science and technology world through the Foundation for Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology (FIRST), a robotics foundation where students of varying ages can compete through tasks that their robots perform. With help from mentors she met through FIRST, she became interested in programming and developing. Today, Daniele is a special events host for F5 Live: Refreshing Technology and PLuGHiTz Live Special Events and a co-host for both The New Product Launchpad and FIRST Looks.

    Marissa SchiereckEpisode AuthorLive DiscussionPowered by Microsoft Store

    • 9 min
    • video
    USF's Formula SAE Bulls Racing @ ROBOTICON Tampa Bay 2018

    USF's Formula SAE Bulls Racing @ ROBOTICON Tampa Bay 2018

    DescriptionUniversity student always wants to get that real-world experience and clubs are the closest way to get it. USF has a variety of clubs related to engineering and some give students real-world experience. The team is listening to USF's Formula SAE Bulls Racing talk about how engineering students learn practical skills through designing and creating a race car every year.
    A freshman mechanical student talks to us about Bulls Racing that creates and competes with a Formula SAE car. The competitions that they compete in include three dynamic events and a business presentation. The first event is the Autocross, it involves showing that the car can race by evaluating drivers' skills and quick thinking on a track. Next is the Acceleration event, they score the teams on the speed from start to end of a certain distance. Finally, the last event is the Endurance test, the main event is on a 22 Km track, where the cars real challenge is finishing.
    The interesting parts are when halfway through teams must go to pits, turn off the car, change drivers, and restart the car. Of course, this is all timed the faster a car with the least amount of penalty points wins. These events are monitored by volunteers and timing equipment to ensure correct results. The student discusses how they create the entire design in SolidWorks before building. Moreover, to be cost-effective when they test parts of the car they use last year frame. The interviews ended after a comparison of the experience FIRST student receive in high school to that students receive in universities. He talks about the benefits he has received from being in this club and thinks that FIRST students are gaining great experience.
    To learn more about University of South Florida's Formula SAE Bulls Racing go to the USF Bulls Racing website.
    Sponsored by:

    Support our coverage by shopping Amazon here.

    Whether you're programming a robot, playing a game or doing homework, the Microsoft Surface is the tablet that can replace your laptop. Get yours at the Microsoft Store.

    ParticipantsScott ErtzHostScott is a developer who has worked on projects of varying sizes, including all of the PLuGHiTz Corporation properties. He is also known in the gaming world for his time supporting the DDR community, through DDRLover and hosting tournaments throughout the Tampa Bar Area. Currently, when he is not working on software projects or hosting F5 Live: Refreshing Technology, Scott can often be found returning to his high school days working with the Foundation for Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology (FIRST), mentoring teams and judging engineering notebooks at competitions. He has also helped found a student software learning group, the ASCII Warriors.

    Daniele MendezHostDaniele is a student at Florida Polytechnic University who is studying Computer Science with a concentration in Cyber Security. In High School, she was introduced to the science and technology world through the Foundation for Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology (FIRST), a robotics foundation where students of varying ages can compete through tasks that their robots perform. With help from mentors she met through FIRST, she became interested in programming and developing. Today, Daniele is a special events host for F5 Live: Refreshing Technology and PLuGHiTz Live Special Events and a co-host for both The New Product Launchpad and FIRST Looks.

    Marissa SchiereckEpisode AuthorLive DiscussionPowered by Microsoft Store

    • 13 min

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