Message from IIF on equal educational opportunities for transgender students

Triple Helix head coach Nate Laverdure sent the following message on behalf of the Intentional Innovation Foundation Board of Directors.

Intentional Innovation Foundation, the nonprofit operating sponsor of Triple Helix Robotics, strives to provide a safe, affirming, and professional environment for learners to explore tough, exciting problems in STEM.

We are disappointed by Tuesday’s [August 17, 2021] vote of the Newport News School Board to reject proposed revisions to Policy JB, Equal Educational Opportunities, which would have expanded the district’s existing anti-discrimination protection to the reasons of gender and gender identity. This change would have also enabled schools to implement policies consistent with the Virginia Department of Education’s “Model Policies for the Treatment of Transgender Students in Public Elementary and Secondary Schools” as required by law.

Adopting the proposed policy changes will make the school environment more reflective of the professional working environments of our employers and sponsors. This environment is one where contributions to the team matter more than identity based discriminatory factors, and it is an environment which we seek to provide to our participants. Adopting the policy changes enhances our ability to provide, at no cost to Newport News Public Schools, the high-energy competition robotics experiences which inspire our young people to become science and technology leaders.

Intentional Innovation Foundation advocates for the passage, without delay, of the proposed revisions to the Equal Educational Opportunities policy at the next Special Meeting of the Newport News School Board scheduled for Thursday, August 26, 2021, at 5 p.m. in the School Administration Building.

Nate Laverdure
President, Intentional Innovation Foundation
Head coach, Triple Helix Robotics

Be a mentor for Triple Helix Robotics!

Triple Helix Robotics is seeking mentors to help us level up our program!

Triple Helix is located in industrial Newport News, Virginia, a city where real people make real things. Ships, space vehicles, fuel injectors, photocopiers, particle accelerators– these things are conceived, built, and improved by rockstar designers, engineers, scientists, and technicians who live and work in our hometown. Our team aims to create the STEM experiences that transform students into these future rockstars.

Our team is distinguished by our two major passions: the iterative engineering design process, and good documentation. Together these two interests make us a constant and effective force in building a stronger youth STEM competition community. Our Peninsula STEM Gym, as well as the pre-season scrimmage event we run with partner teams 1610 and 5957, both provide unique opportunities for local teams to iterate on their solutions so they can be at their strongest at competition.

Our mentoring philosophies

Our team is relatively small, but our mission is large. Our core belief is that the most powerful way to engage our students in STEM is to provide a safe environment where they can experience complex problems in the form of a thrilling, challenging competition. We see our mentors as equal partners with our students as together we co-investigate those tough problems, forming awesome relationships along the way.

Desired areas of expertise

New Triple Helix mentors are not expected to know how to design and build an FRC robot– we can teach that! However, we are aiming to recruit mentors with the following expertise.

Math and physics

  • Multivariable calculus
  • Linear algebra
  • Ordinary differential equations
  • Classical mechanics

Control theory

  • Modeling of dynamic systems
  • Control of underactuated systems
  • Model predictive control (MPC)
  • Statistic filtering techniques (e.g. Kalman filtering)

Engineering and design

  • Mechatronics
  • 3D CAD (we primarily use PTC Creo and Onshape)
  • 2D and 2.5D CAM

Additional focus areas

  • Web development
  • Graphic design
  • Project management
  • Technical writing
  • Marketing

If this sounds like a group that you would like to join, please reach out to us at contact@team2363.org. Come build real cool stuff with us!

Newsletter: Triple Helix completes all the “Infinite Recharge @ Home” Skills Challenges

Throughout the spring, Triple Helix students and mentors used socially-distanced and virtual meeting spaces to compete in Infinite Recharge at Home, a set of skills challenges laid out by FIRST in lieu of traditional tournaments.

We are proud to announce that after one last late night at the Peninsula STEM Gym, we’ve wrapped up our submissions and sent them in to FIRST!

Because of our hard work, our results are among the best in the world.  We currently stand [1] at 4th place in our randomly-assigned group of 29 teams, just behind teams from Seattle, Long Island, and Windsor Locks CT.  We’re also currently [2] the highest-ranked Virginia team, and somewhere in the top 50 out of all 1100+ teams competing.

These results are quite spectacular, especially considering that we’ve done our work completely openly, updating our youtube channel every time we have a new “best to date” score to share.  You can find all the materials we submitted to FIRST– a presentation about the software development work we’ve done, a flyer about our robot, and much more– at our publications site team2363.org/publications.

Thanks to all the participating students and mentors, and everyone who helped us do such great work during a weird time– especially the parents and our sponsors!  We look forward to an upcoming FIRST Chesapeake award ceremony on May 4, and a restful offseason full of…

  • Competition with our FPV quadcopters
  • software development leveraging what we have learned through these skills challenges
  • Recruiting new students and mentors to our team
  • Reopening our Menchville HS workshop for business as usual as soon as we can!

Nate

[1] Official scores and rankings will be available from FIRST on April 23.
[2] These are unofficial rankings taken ahead of this afternoon’s submittal deadline.

Our Infinite Recharge at Home Skills Competition raw scores

Here are Triple Helix’s best raw scores (so far) for each of the Skills Competition challenges of the 2021 FRC game: Infinite Recharge at Home. This post will be updated when we have more scores to share.

ChallengeScoreVideo
Galactic Search, Path A5.88link
Galactic Search, Path B5.63link
AutoNav, Barrel Racing Path12.48link
AutoNav, Slalom Path9.35link
AutoNav, Bounce Path9.98link
Hyperdrive, Barrel Racing Path12.08link
Hyperdrive, Slalom Path9.78link
Hyperdrive, Bounce Path11.25link
Hyperdrive, Lightspeed Circuit Path22.55link
Interstellar Accuracy45link
POWER PORT70link

Newsletter: Triple Helix Robotics – October 2020 update

Here’s what Triple Helix has been up to this month!

Our internal drone competition is off the ground
Triple Helix students and mentors are flying their quadcopters at home and at the Peninsula STEM Gym, several team members having assembled their kits and configured their transmitters and FPV goggles.  Soon, our team will have a flock of drones in the air, and we’ll start designing some game challenges so we can put our new flying skills to the test.https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=at8Hj10BHWQ

We still have room for new team members!  If you are a high school student on the peninsula (or an aspiring mentor to a peninsula HS student!) and would like to join Triple Helix and participate in our FPV drone competition, you’re invited to:

  • Register with the team via join.team2363.org (this is an annual requirement for all students and mentors).
  • Register with the FAA as a drone operator under The Exception for Recreational Flyers at https://faadronezone.faa.gov/. The cost is $5 for 3 years of registration.
  • Join us on the team Slack where you will learn how you can pick up your kit of parts and start the process of building your quad!

We’re also meeting virtually on Google Meet on Tuesday evenings at 7pm— you are welcome to join us there!

Triple Helix is registered to compete in the 2021 FRC season– whatever that entails
Thanks to all of our wonderful sponsors, but especially our longtime partners DoD STEM and NASA Langley Research Center, we have secured our registration in this year’s FIRST Robotics Competition season, which we think will be mostly made up of a number of interesting virtual challenges and projects.  We’re excited to learn more about the season as we get closer to the January 9 kickoff, and of course we still hold out hope that we’ll be able to compete safely next spring/summer in some in-person FIRST Chesapeake events playing a slightly updated version of the 2020 FRC game.

Nate