As many of our viewers know, our host Daniele just graduated from Florida Polytechnic University in Lakeland, Florida. This school is unique for a number of reasons, but its focus on STEM-based education is its standout feature. Having a school like this means that students can more easily find activities that align with their areas of study or their overall areas of interest. One of those activities is Purple Fire Robotics, a robotics team and alumni association at the school.
While we have talked in the past about the general activities of Purple Fire, this year we got to speak with Jacob about a new robotics initiative that he is involved with: Combat Robotics. While separate and apart from, the program is similar in nature to the BattleBots program. Teams build robots with the goal of knocking out or highly damaging their opponent's robot - a different intention from that of FIRST.
Jacob recognized the benefits of learning through combat robotics, however, and is working to bring National Robotics League competition to high schools and colleges. While the environment of FIRST helps to teach particular aspects of engineering, NRL competition has the ability to hone other engineering skills. The need to protect the body, drive train, and control system of NRL robots means learning about different materials and defensive tactics for design. These same principles are used every day when you look at the design of things like laptops, tablets, and phones - all of which need protection from drops.
Even though the nature of NRL is far more actively competitive, being one-on-one competition, the organization still fosters the same core values of FIRST. One team can completely destroy another team's robot and, after the match, will go over and help them rebuild, and then have lunch together.
For more on NRL, or to find an event in your area. check out their website.
Scott is a developer who has worked on projects of varying sizes, including all of the PLUGHITZ Corporation properties. He is also known in the gaming world for his time supporting the rhythm game community, through DDRLover and hosting tournaments throughout the Tampa Bay Area. Currently, when he is not working on software projects or hosting F5 Live: Refreshing Technology, Scott can often be found returning to his high school days working with the Foundation for Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology (FIRST), mentoring teams and helping with ROBOTICON Tampa Bay. He has also helped found a student software learning group, the ASCII Warriors, currently housed at AMRoC Fab Lab.
Daniele is a student at Florida Polytechnic University who is studying Computer Science with a concentration in Cyber Security. In High School, she was introduced to the science and technology world through the Foundation for Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology (FIRST), a robotics foundation where students of varying ages can compete through tasks that their robots perform. With help from mentors she met through FIRST, she became interested in programming and developing. Today, Daniele is a special events host for F5 Live: Refreshing Technology and PLuGHiTz Live Special Events and a co-host for both The New Product Launchpad and FIRST Looks.