The Next Big Thing
Posts about next generation technologies and their effect on business.

STEM in space...

raspberry PI.pngI do quite a bit of work with STEM efforts in the spring, so this week when I saw the blog post on the Astro Pi Mission Update it was exciting. For those who are not familiar with the Raspberry Pi, it is a low cost, experimenter’s computer. And now it is going to the International Space Station along with the British astronaut Tim Peake.

 

What is the most exciting though is that UK schools can have the same hardware that will be used for experiments on the space station and incorporated into the classwork! I am sure this is getting a great deal of press in the UK, but I’d not heard about it here.

 

The unit being used is a Raspberry Pi 1 Model B+ with a special HAT (Hardware Attached on Top) module. This module will have a collection of sensors specifically designed for use in this mission, and an 8x8 matrix of LEDs. You can even buy your own (when it is soon released).

 

That is exciting in itself but taking it a step further (at least from a gamification perspective) is the Astro Pi competition. UK schools can enter and submit programs, and experiments, and the winning submission will be taken on the mission and performed on the space station, itself.

 

These are the types of activities that generate new scientists and engineers. I am going to be judging the FIRST Robotics Competition in Dallas again next week and it has similar aspirations of impact.

FIRST Robotics Competition game for 2015 announced

Saturday was the kickoff for the FIRST Robotics Competition (FRC) for 2015. I’ve participated for the last 7 years, locating judges for the North Texas competition. This year, the Dallas FRC event will take place on February 25th – 28th at the Irving convention center. If you’re in town – be there. It’s a free and an exciting show.

 

FRC allows students to start from a standard kit of parts and some state of the art tools, received at the kickoff, and build a robot that attempts to meet specified objectives. At the end of the build period, the robots are packed up and the students do not see them again until the competition.

 

This video is an overview of this year’s challenge – Recycle Rush

 

 

I’ve found FRC to be an exciting and enlightening experience for the students and the volunteers. Every year I am surprised at the ingenuity and commitment demonstrated by those participating.

 

The main competition is judged by numerous factors beyond how the robots perform on the field, like:

  • Coopertition (helping others that you are competing against)
  • Project planning
  • Quality/safety
  • Technical achievement
  • Business plan and marketing

 

The on field performance is not judged, since it has its own rules… Referees determine the winners of that portion of the competition.

 

The goal of FIRST is to encourage the understanding and passion around STEM. It has a proven track record of results that is hard to argue with.

 

You can see some video from previous year’s Dallas FIRST competition, if you are interested.

Careers in engineering…

engineering.pngA while back I wrote a post that mentioned the TryEngineering.org site.

 

That post led to an exchange with LearnHowToBecome.org about a series of in-depth guides they developed dealing with engineering careers and degree programs:

These might be of interest to those entering into STEM fields, since they break down the industry roles and steps required to enter these careers into easily understood summaries. They also break down the employment picture by state (for example they predict the number of Computer Engineers will grow in Texas by over 14% by 2020).

 

These roles are what will be required to actually build the next big thing in technology.

Labels: Engineering| Future| STEM

FIRST Robotics Competition game for 2014 announced

Saturday was the kickoff for the FIRST Robotics Competition (FRC) for 2014. I’ve participated for the last 6 years, locating judges for the North Texas competition. This year, the NTX FRC event will take place on March 13th-15th at the Irving convention center. If you’re in town – be there. It’s free and an exciting show.

 

FRC allows students to start from a standard kit of parts and some state of the art tools, received at the kickoff, and build a robot attempting to meet specified objectives. At the end of the build period, the robots are packed up and they do not see them again until their first competition.

 

This video is an overview of this year’s challenge – Arial Assist:

  

 

I’ve found FRC to be an eye opening experience for the students and the volunteers. Every year I am surprised at the ingenuity and commitment demonstrated by those participating.

 

The main competition is judged by numerous factors beyond how they perform on the field, like:

  • Coopertition (helping others that you are competing against)
  • Project planning
  • Quality/safety
  • Technical achievement
  • Business plan and marketing

 

The on field performance is not judged, since it has its own rules… Referees determine the winners of that portion of the competition.

 

The goal of FIRST is to encourage the understanding and passion around STEM. It has a proven track record of results that is hard to argue with.

 

You can see some video from previous year’s NTX FIRST competition, if you are interested.

 

Tags: future| Robotics| STEM
Labels: Future| Robotics| STEM

HP Catalyst Academy prepares educators for the future

HP Catalyst Academy.pngRecently NMC, ISTE, and HP launched the HP Catalyst Academy. The HP Catalyst Academy extends the work of the HP Catalyst Initiative, which was launched in 2010 to support innovations in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) teaching and learning. To date, 56 organizations in 15 countries have received grants from HP to explore how emerging technologies and great teaching can be combined to create powerful STEMx learning experiences for more than 130,000 students around the globe.

 

Beginning in June 2013, the HP Catalyst Academy will offer its first set of online mini-courses, covering a wide range of topics such as:

The mini-course leaders, known as HP Catalyst Fellows, are working to develop these innovative online professional learning experiences.

 

I’ll definitely see if I can find out more about the Digital Fabrication mini-course.

 

Helping educators prepare to both understand these subjects and their application in business is one way to ensure that we’ll have the kind of candidates needed for the workplace of the future.

 

I forgot to add that HP has announced that the RFP is now open for the next group of Fellows to lead mini-courses: http://hp.com/go/hpcatalystacademy.

 

The deadline is July 8th.

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  • Steve Simske is an HP Fellow and Director in the Printing and Content Delivery Lab in Hewlett-Packard Labs, and is the Director and Chief Technologist for the HP Labs Security Printing and Imaging program.
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