As Triple Helix Robotics begins a new school year, our team leaders have been thinking about how we’ll accomplish the goals of the team– inspiring students with STEM– within the restrictions placed on us by the pandemic we’re all living through. In these slides, senior mentor Todd Ferrante explains the team’s current thinking in response to the continued public health crisis: this season, it’s up to us to create the spark of inspiration that will draw people– students and mentors– to participate in the team this year.
Triple Helix returns to flight by coming together to create the Tele Operated Robotics Competition– an internal tech challenge involving small bots which can be built by students at home and at the Peninsula STEM Gym, using the tools and techniques that are available to us.
Triple Helix Robotics produces inflection points: in the personal growth of our students and in the strength of other competitive youth STEM teams in our community. Our work helps develop the young leaders who will drive our region’s knowledge economy.
We make permanent, positive change in these areas– causing fundamental shifts in outcomes for the individual students we engage, a revitalized culture of engineering excellence in teams we reach, and the continued sustainable growth of a network of young people who are enthusiastic about the real work of science and technology careers. We do all this with a proven tool: the FIRST Robotics Competition. FRC gives us a way to pair students and technical professionals to co-investigate hard, exciting problems in STEM. Along the way, Triple Helix students develop rewarding relationships and learn an empowering personal truth: that it’s fun to work incredibly hard on complex problems as a member of a team, learning together alongside peers and mentors.
Triple Helix is passionate about high-quality documentation and the iterative engineering design process, and we demonstrate these passions in our prototype testing videos, whitepapers, and conference presentations.
One of the most critical existential risks for sustainable-minded teams (and the biggest single reason that teams “retire”) is the loss of their champion– the 1 or 2 key lead individuals who hold the whole thing together. In this presentation, head coach Nate Laverdure discusses how the outgoing lead mentors, the incoming lead mentors, the rest of the team, and the team’s stakeholder community can plan and execute a successful leadership change.
In constantly striving for an improved FIRST experience for Triple Helix students, team administrators share partially redacted Non-Medical Incident Reports (NMIR) and supporting documentation submitted to FIRST Chesapeake and FIRST headquarters.
Triple Helix and our operating nonprofit sponsor Intentional Innovation Foundation seek the donation of the following products and services to support our award-winning youth STEM programs. (Last updated 11 February 2020)
Polycarbonate, acetal copolymer, and certain other plastics
Laser cutter ventilation & filter system
Peninsula STEM Gym equiment
One or more large industrial ceiling fans
Whiteboards (QTY 3 size 4′ x 3′ ft, QTY 1 size 6′ x 3′)
Lumber (3/4″ and 1/2″ plywood sheets, 2x4s)
Polyurethane to finish tabletops
Industrial scale (500 lb capacity, 30″ or 36″ square platform) similar to Arlyn 320D-36
Safety glasses rack/cubbies
Dustpan & brush
Large-scale storage solutions
An immediate goal for Triple Helix is take over a small closet which adjoins our workshop. The closet currently stores JROTC uniforms and other supplies, so to acquire the closet we’d need to come up with another location to store these items. One possibility is an in-kind donation of metal wardrobe storage cabinets or lockers.
Menchville High School currently stores equipment in 7 sheds and shipping containers located around the campus and in various states of repair. Summed together these storage spaces provide about 2000 sq ft of storage for school groups including band, drama, and athletics. Triple Helix seeks to consolidate this storage into a large engineered steel storage building, which would provide enough clean dry storage for all school activities.
Prepaid fuel cards
Gift cards to our common vendors (Lowe’s, Home Depot, Amazon, etc.)
Compiled by mentor Nate Laverdure in fall 2016, this document lists the top resources that have been helpful in his growth as an engineer and a mentor. They are representative of his interests and opinions, and therefore lean towards mechanical systems and fabrication techniques.
Taken together, they constitute his idea of an archive of fundamental resources (papers, presentations, videos, websites, etc) which are essential to being “good at robots” in modern FRC. The idea isn’t quite right– in truth, every team has the capability for designing and fielding excellent winning robots regardless of how well-developed their library of knowledge is. However, compiling these resources gives new FRC designers a significant leg up by rapidly exposing them from lessons learned from hundreds of people, some of them with over two decades of experience in this competitive robotics program.
The biggest thing to learn from these resources is simple: that nothing in FRC is so complex or far advanced that it can’t be understood by anyone willing to put in the time to understand it.