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

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.

We have National Engineers Week ahead of us

engineersWeek2013.pngFor 2013, National Engineers Week (in the US) runs from February 17th -23rd. The purpose of National Engineers Week is to call attention to the contributions to society that engineers make. It is also a time for engineers to emphasize the importance of learning math, science, and technical skills, so there will likely be some events at a school or museum near to you.

FIRST Robotics Competition game for 2013 announced

Saturday was the kickoff for the FIRST Robotics Competition (FRC) for 2013. I’ve participated for the last 5 years, coordinating finding judges for the North Texas competition. This year, the NTX FRC event will take place on March 21st-23rd at the Irving convention center. If you’re in town – be there. It’s free and an exciting show. I’ll probably not have time to do the global competition this year, but will help out with the initial FRC in Lubbock on March 1st-March 2nd.

 

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 – Ultimate Ascent:

  

 

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 sacrifice that is 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 as well.

Tags: FIRST| Robotics| STEM
Labels: FIRST| Robotics| STEM

Is your view that ten years out computing will still be exciting?

future of IT.pngI was talking to someone the other day who was lamenting the good old days. Ten years ago was quite a different world than what we take for granted today.

 

We were just realizing that the dot com bubble was just a bubble and the long boom turned into more of a pop (we’re seeing this discussion again). It was a time when we had just figured out that innovators had dilemmas and highly effective people had habits. Computers belonged on a desk or a data center and few people had mobile phones, let alone smartphones (I had an early windows mobile device and could listen to music, watch videos… but that was pretty rare).

 

Our access to information was quite different as well, since at the end of 2001 Wikipedia had only 20,000 articles. Amazon was still primarily focused on books. Ebay didn’t own PayPal and was primarily US based. USB 2.0 had just been ratified. SaaS was something you got in trouble for and social media really didn’t exist.

 

On a more personal note COMPAQ and EDS were not part of HP.

 

All our systems and software were based on significant constraints. Now we’re moving into abundance in Information Technology on almost every front. Many people are starting to have computers with them all the time, capturing data elements of our lives and storing them – forever.

 

With all the change just described, does anyone think that the next ten years will be less eventful? How does this admission shape your planning for the future?

 

Most of us recognize that the business environment will be more integrated and social, and yet likely more security conscious than today. Everything will be accessed while mobile and yet tap into the resource pool of the cloud. More and more displays will support 3D capabilities and whole new user interface possibilities will develop and we will manufacture more items right in our home from downloaded designs. Automation will begin to permeate our lives (let alone the business) taking on mundane tasks at every level. The leadership of today will be gone and Gen X and Gen Y will be firmly in control with some new generation nipping at their heels.

 
There are those who look to this future and don’t want to think about it, yet that is what we’re here to do. The champions of change are those that see all these possibilities not as problems but as potential. Even though we can’t imaging many of the exponential laws of IT continuing, many of them will, enabling new approaches to development and information use.

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About the Author(s)
  • 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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