Introducing SMC Robotics

SMC Robotics League Competition Proposal
M. Frangenberg and B. Cahn

Introduction: In previous cases, it has been noticed that teams winning the chairman’s award have had major impact on large amounts of students (hundreds) in introducing them to engineering and technology. Such a task is usually accomplished by creating many First Lego League teams, a hard thing to do because of the need for willing educators in schools and almost a thousand dollars for each First Lego League team every year of competition. However, such a feat can be accomplished with hard work and only a small amount of money.

Object: To gain status as a team with strong community and student involvement, using limited monetary funds; to introduce students to engineering and technology.

We propose to create a robotics competition in St. Mary’s county. The competition would utilize the large amount of Technology-Based businesses in St. Mary’s county by enlisting the businesses as creators and sponsors of individual teams. The focus of the competition would be much like FIRST’s, to introduce students to engineering and technology and to promote a sense of “Gracious Professionalism.” The low cost and high value of such a team would be an excellent reason for a business to sponsor a team.
The competition would be based around the newly released Vex Robotics System, sold at Radio Shack for $300.00. The kit’s erector set qualities make it easy for a non-technical person to put together, and the low cost of this would allow almost any business or even a group of individuals to create and sponsor a team.
The teams, for the most part would be made up of employees of the sponsoring businesses and their children, with some businesses partnering with schools in low-income areas to provide less-fortunate children with an awesome opportunity. There would be a maximum of 15 students per team, with an optimum number of 10. We would begin asking businesses to create and sponsor teams as soon as possible.
A simple game would have to be devised for the teams to play, as well as rules for the robots. The game and rules should be released during the early summer and teams given four weeks to build their robot. After the four-week build period, the competitions should start.
In theory there should be two competitions, a week apart from each other. Hopefully the competitions would be held at venues such as a school gym, recreation center, or large meeting room. If funding is not possible, a small registration fee would have to be charged for the teams entrance in the competition. The competitions would be well advertised, we would inform the local newspaper and ask a local radio station to broadcast from one of the events. The competitions would be held with a spirit of gracious professionalism, with the real winners being everyone.
If we get twenty teams in our first year, with an average of tens students per team, our competition will have directly involved 200 students in engineering and technology, plus impacting countless others around them. Starting a robotics competition in St. Mary’s County would be a worthwhile activity for our team to take part in.

Any questions or comments would greatly be appreciated