Robotics Collaborative Space?

Recently, my team and two others in my area have been discussing a proposal for a youth robotics center to a local science museum that already supports FIRST. We finally met the other day and came up with the idea of a collaborative space for all local teams. For the time being, the goal is to make it meeting and training space during the off-season and quiet space for animator/programming/CAD people during the build season.

My question to you is have any group of teams tried a collaborative before and would this work?

In addition, is there a way to make sure it will be a true collaborative space and not turn into space that one team owns?

Thank you.

Please check the First in Michigan Website:

The “Michigan Engineering Zone” is sponsored by the U of Michigan in a Detroit facility.

Instead of supplying an answer, I’m going to ask a question :slight_smile: How narrowly focused is this robotics center supposed to be?

Is it supposed to involve area youth of all ages, skills and incomes in robotics? or is it targeting only those already involved in FRC?

Either is good, but…

Getting the use of a public space like a piece of a museum seems to be a golden opportunity to catalyze more than just FRC in your community. There are also the FTC, FLL, jFLL, VRC, BEST, BotBall, OOTM, etc. programs to consider, publicize and involve.

Each has advantages and benefits for some target audience, and together they are still just scratching the surface of the North American population. “We” need to use every tool in our arsenals if we are going to change that scratching-the-surface situation.

I suggest thinking about how much more effective the space, and your investments in it, can be if, in addition to helping FRC teams ($10,000 to $25,000 per team per season) share resources and cross-fertilize their talent; you use it to also invigorate programs that can cost as little as $500 or $1000 per team per season;

Food for thought,

Thank you for the reply Blake! I should have stated this more clearly in my initial post but, the museum already hosts JFLL & FLL teams and hosts NXT & EARLY Lego camps during the summer. :]
For the proposed center we hope to get both local FRC & FTC teams involved.
As of now, my area has a very small FRC & FTC presence so we’d try and focus on strengthening that presence before moving onto BEST etc.
However, your post will be helpful to bring up to my group in future meetings.

We’re working on something similar in Chicago.

We think the trick to maintaining a community space as opposed to one occupied my a main team is to have the space managed by a third party. In our case, Illinois Institute of Technology and their Robotics Club will be managing the space and maintaining the machine tools.

We will be using the space for all levels of FIRST, so it should be an exciting challenge.

In order to involve teams and help them feel at home, though, each team would benefit from some space that is theirs to claim. Even if it is as simple as a single desk and/or storage locker, something that they can call their own will keep them coming back and help them feel secure.

I hope that helps and I’m more than happy to talk further if you need to bounce ideas.

Thanks everyone with their suggestions/questions!
CJmango - Your tips were very helpful and I was able to integrate them into the discussions we had. I will be sure to contact you if I have any more questions.
Thank you so much.

We presented the idea for the collaborative to the science museum last week and we are now waiting to see the staff’s reply.

I’ve been organizing/mentoring FRC collaborative build/test facilities for 10 years and this concept can be very benefical to the teams involved. Last year I co-founded FIRST@Michigan Engineering Zone where 12 FRC teams from Detroit Public high schools built and tested their robots. We intend to double the size of the MEZ this year. I’d be happy to share our plans, experience and outcomes if you are interested.

Ken Snodgrass

Sharing a space with multiple teams is actually quite a rush! In 2009 we were glad to let the Robo Panthers build their robot in our facilities, with access to our tools, students, and mentors. It was very interesting to see two robots being made at the same time side by side. The designs were different but we felt like family. I think that sharing a build space or just having a commnity build space for various teams is a great idea. Its just in the spirit of FIRST to help each other out and work together to reach your goals.

Good luck with your project!