Hudson Valley Part Of Collaborative Robot- And Confidence-Building Effort
Jeff Foley (518) 629-8085 or (518) 210-4161
FOR RELEASE: Immediate, Tuesday, February 26, 2002
With help from Hudson Valley Community College, Team
250 (also known as "The Dynamos") recently finished and shipped off their entry
for the 2002 FIRST Robotics competition. Comprised of 66 male and female high
school students, primarily from Colonie Central High School and Shenendehowa
High School, Team 250 built a robot capable of picking up balls and dropping
them into pre-determined zones or goals.
Hudson Valley contributed to the robot by making
aluminum plates that form transmission cases. Constructed with assistance from
Hudson Valley professor Jim Hamilton in the college's Machining Processes Lab II
class, a required class in the Manufacturing Technical Systems curriculum, the
plates were drilled and counterbored together. There are holes for shafts and
"In layman terms, the parts we made are cases for
the transmission, which will propel the robot," Hamilton said.
"This is a great collaborative project," said Marian
Barasch, chairperson for the Automotive and Industrial Technologies department
at Hudson Valley. "It involves plenty of math and science, as well as
problem-solving, and Hudson Valley is happy to be involved."
Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, GE Power Systems,
Verizon Communications and others also pitched in.
Team 250's five-foot-tall robot will compete at the
2002 FIRST Robotics regional competition, being held in Connecticut in April.
Team 250, which sent its robot to Connecticut via FedEx on Feb. 19, won the
regional competition in 2001.
The idea behind the 11-year-old FIRST Robotics
competition – FIRST stands for "For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and
Technology" – is to bring out the best in young engineering talent. The robot
specifications are disclosed on day one of a six-week period. The completed
robots must then be built, tested and shipped to the site of the regional
competition by the end of the six weeks. Teams compete for a spot at the
national competition, to be held in late April at Epcot Center in Florida.
This year, Team 250 was required to build a robot
that can pick up balls and move them to another location. Points are awarded for
each accurate drop-off.
"These students are building more than just robots,
though," Barasch said. "They're building knowledge and confidence. They're
building an ability to work with others on a difficult task. Whether they win or
lose, there are no losers in the FIRST Robotics competition."
Hudson Valley Community College offers more than 50 degree
and certification programs in four academic divisions: Liberal Arts and
Sciences; Engineering and Industrial Technologies; Health Sciences; and
Business; as well as programs run through the Educational Opportunity Center
offering certification programs in workforce and academic preparation. One of 30
community colleges in the State University of New York system, it has an
enrollment of more than 9,000 students each year, and is known as a leader in
distance learning initiatives and worker retraining.