Posts Tagged ‘Enhanced Robotics Class’

Great Minds Robotics® first-year VEX IQ Team 10700 “IQ Cubed” ranks 15th in the VEX Worlds 2015 Programming Skills, Middle School Division

Sunday, April 19th, 2015

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We just got back from VEX World 2015 in Louisville, Kentucky – what an awesome event! Top robotics teams from around the world, grouped into 5 divisions, compete to win awards in various categories. A grand total of 850 teams were present in this year’s event. Additionally cool demonstrations were arranged: top minds in robotics and programming were invited to present their creations for the VEX IQ division; new products were unveiled; and last, but certainly not least, the 2015-2016 VEX IQ and VEX Robotics Challenges were unveiled at this event. It’s such an amazing, high-energy, one-of-a-kind experience, that no blog post (that I can write, at least) can do it justice. You just have to go and experience it for yourself! Make sure to educate yourself on VEX IQ and VEX Robotics Challenge rules to really enjoy the experience.

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We met quite a number of great teams and super-smart kids, and learned a lot from this experience. It was inspiring and educational to see the various brilliant designs and innovative programming solutions, STEM Research Projects, and to exchange knowledge with team members from around the globe. We are eager to implement much of what we learned into our next year’s designs.

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Our team did really well for their first year. Although we did not get into finals (only 32 teams in our division, of 105, made it to the finals), we did rank #15 in Programming Skills. Not too shabby for a first-year team! We’ll do better next year – our team is already hard at work, engineering the robot for the new challenge. We are also adding two more VEX IQ teams, and they’ll be working away on their robot designs very shortly as well.

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From Great Minds Robotics – congratulations to ALL teams who made it to VEX World 2015, and congratulations to the Champions! We’ll see you all again next year at VEX Worlds 2016!

Sierra Canyon High School Spends “Peak Week” at Great Minds Robotics®

Thursday, February 19th, 2015

Once a year, Sierra Canyon’s High School students go on an exciting and educational excursion to all sorts of cool places. This year, a group of 13 students spent their “Peak Week” learning robotics and programming with us at Great Minds Robotics®.

The camp-style excursion turned out fantastic! Not only did these students have a ton of fun, but they also got to experience a “sampler platter” of technologies and programming languages that we offer. The students first started with RobotC and Virtual Worlds; they then built and programmed LEGO NXT robots to solve autonomous challenges on our purpose-built practice tables. With the guide of our knowledgeable instructors, the students added remote controls and Bluetooth communications to their RobotC programs.

Programming is an integral part of robotics; at times it can require multiple programming languages to solve a challenge. We introduced these students to a few languages during peak week. In addition to RobotC, they were also welcomed to C# – our language of choice. The students wrote a few simple programs in C#, after which we demonstrated a number of more advanced projects that use RobotC, C#, and C++. They got to see a working demo of our SkyBase (our “giant” as mentioned in the previous blog) play tic-tac-toe! Later on they watched our drone take an aerial tour around GMR. Our guests also got an intro course to Arduino (our favorite Open Source electronics board), wired up a few RGB LEDs, and programmed their boards in C++. We also demonstrated an Arduino-controlled robot built from LEGO Technic!

The week ended with a team-based competition of our own. Students grouped into teams and competed in our custom-designed game on the VEX IQ Live Table. Pretty productive week, huh?

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“Spying” on Madrid from space

Thursday, May 26th, 2011

Great Minds Robotics students program a LEGO® Mindstorms® NXT robot to interface with a NASA website and request a picture of Spain from orbit

We admit that Madrid is not really a secret location. However, we couldn’t help but feel a bit like international spies. Seriously, we told our robot to get intel from space.

Our Enhanced Robotics students built this robot and programmed the NXT Intelligent Brick to give coordinates to NASA’s ISS EarthKAM website. The data went from there to Mission Control at UCSD. From that point it got sent to the International Space Station (ISS) as a photo request.

Many of our requests were carried out!! The ISS took pictures of Madrid and many other places around the globe! We got to view and download our photos via the EarthKAM site.

Watch the video to see our robot get all “Secret Agent Man”.

Remember, we weren’t really pointing at the International Space Station or secretly hacking the website. But, hey, it was fun to make our project look cool while automatically typing data into the internet (which is a pretty cool thing all on its own).

All robotic movement was strictly for show. Students programmed the antenna to look as if it was aiming a signal into space. It was timed to match the NXT Brick’s interface with the website. If you missed it, look again to see the letters and numbers appear in the website data fields.

This project was developed by our older students for use in the Enhanced Robotics Lab.

You can also watch this video on our Videos page.

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Great Minds Robotics is forming FLL Teams for 2011 Food Factor Challenge. Apply Now!

Friday, May 6th, 2011

Students of ages 9 through 14 are invited to apply for this year’s FIRST LEGO League competition. Applications are available to enrolled students at Great Minds Robotics location in Tarzana, CA.

We updated our FAQ section based on recent questions from our students and their parents. Please review this section, as it may answer many questions you might have about the FLL competition. Of course, if you don’t see an answer to your question, please contact us – we’ll be sure to address it.

While we do not have a schedule for training sessions yet, we plan to have a number of sessions in the summer, and weekly sessions starting September 2011. We will post the schedule as soon as we have it.

Check out this blog entry from last year’s FLL event for in-depth understanding of what FLL competitions entail, the challenges the kids have to overcome, and the awesome rewards our team earned last year.

Not yet a student at Great Minds Robotics? Give your son or daughter an opportunity to shine as they contribute to their team’s success. Enroll today!

Know someone else who might be interested? Refer a friend and we’ll be sure to thank you!

Robotics for Kids: Inspiration for Innovation

Friday, February 11th, 2011

As I take notes on my students’ progress after teaching a typical Enhanced Robotics class at Great Minds Learning Center, I can’t help but smile. The students had a ton of fun. They built awesome robots and played with them. They noticed some “bugs” in mechanics and programming of their robots, and came up with amazing improvements. They made corrections, and played some more. As the class wrapped up, they did not want to leave. It was definitely fun. Yet, there is something far beyond playing with these awesome toys… I reminisced my own childhood, my commencement into the world robotics.

I always liked robots. I thought of robots as highly intelligent “human helpers” – not better or smarter than humans – after all, It’s humans that engineer and program them – but certainly more suited for a particular task. When I thought “robot”, I thought of Lt. Commander Data, an android from Star Trek, or the ever-helpful, super resourceful R2-D2 from Star Wars. I thought of Isaac Asimov, not “The Terminator”. I started learning computer programming at age 11, and given my fascination with robots, it was simply natural for me to get involved in robotics. After examining several platforms, I settled on LEGO Mindstorms as my platform of choice. Some years later, Great Minds Learning Center and Great Minds Robotics program were born.

I am thrilled and excited beyond expression to see the recent developments in the world of robotics. I see students at our center that are likely to be a part of, if not the leaders of, amazing robotics projects in the not-so-distant future. Projects like NASA’s ATHLETE:

… which, by the way, can also dance:

Projects like uBot-5, a personal assistant for the elderly:

Quite possibly, our students can be a significant part of projects that will place a robot into your home in the not-so-distant future. Check out the awesome work by Dr. Cynthia Breazeal of MIT:

Projects like these require knowledge and innovation. Here at Great Minds Learning Center, kids in grades K-12 engineer and program awesome robots every day. They find original solutions to various challenges they encounter while building and programming their creations. They learn valuable skills while playing with really cool robots. They have fun while expanding their knowledge.

Inspire your child to innovate. Enroll them into Great Minds Robotics today!

Happy New Year from Great Minds Learning Center!

Thursday, December 30th, 2010

Launched in December 2009, Great Minds Learning Center wraps up its first full year of operation – 2010. Our students build many cool robots, and some very exciting robotic projects, such as the RoboGarage, and a Giant Ferris Wheel. Robotics and Enhanced Robotics students participated in exciting competitions, such a Medieval Robotics Competition and FLL Tournaments. Our FIRST LEGO League team – The NXT Generation – even got as far as Los Angeles Championship event, as one of only 40 teams [out of about 1,400 in the LA region]. We wrapped up the FLL season by winning the Quality Design Award for our robot at the Championship event:

With many new and exciting projects in store for 2011, we are very excited about our program for the upcoming year. We will be exploring green energy, such as solar and wind power. We will be making exciting games involving multiple robots. We will… give you more details in 2011. Enroll today to be a part of our exciting program in the upcoming year.

Want to learn how to build cool robots and compete with others in fierce, yet fun, tournaments? We are going to run two FLL teams for 2011’s Food Factor challenge – and we are looking for new team members now! Enroll today!

Happy New Year!

LEGO Creations – Reconstruction of the World’s Earliest Computer

Wednesday, December 15th, 2010

I just read this amazing article on MIT’s “Mims’s Bits” Technology Review blog, about an Apple engineer recreating an ancient Greek device – a mechanical computer, called the “Antikythera” mechanism. It was built over 2100 years ago (100 BC), and discovered in a shipwreck in 1901. This discovery was re-constructed; the LEGO design built by the Apple engineer is based on this reconstruction. It works by using precise gears, meshed in a particular way to perform mathematic calculations. Both the original device and the LEGO replica accurately preduct… solar eclipses!

Check out the original article here.

Great Minds Robotics students have not built an ancient Greek mechanical computer [yet]; but they do build and program plenty of cool and exciting projects in our classes and labs. Check out our Enhanced Robotics Curriculum for details!

Want to improve your LEGO building skills, so you too can make awesome LEGO creations? If you are a Great Minds Robotics student, join our LEGO workshop [or mini-workshop] on December 26 (check our schedule for details). Not a student yet? Sign up today!

Great Minds Robotics Students Win 1st Place in Los Angeles Region Qualifying FLL Tournament

Monday, November 15th, 2010

Sunday, November 14, 2010 was an awesome day for FLL Team 4428 – The NXT Generation – a FIRST LEGO League team consisting of 7 students attending the Enhanced Robotics Program at Great Minds Learning Center. Actually, it was an awesome weekend – two competitions (a Local and a Qualifying event), two First Place Robot Performance Awards (one in each competition), and a First Place Champion’s Award in the Qualifying Tournament, for a total of three awards! Of course, it takes much more than showing up to a competition to win an award – it takes hard work, many hours of training, learning, researching, practicing and solving challenges encountered along the way. It takes teamwork and team spirit. Even then, it’s not easy.

Great Minds Learning Center's FLL Team

Click here to read the full story…

Real Life Robotics Lab project in action

Friday, October 8th, 2010

Check out the RoboGarage built by students in the Enhanced Robotics classes

Watch the results of a Real Life Robotics Lab project as it successfully parks and retrieves a LEGO Car by reading its RFID tag. You even get to see a student using the interactive SMART Board to make a correction to the program in charge of the robotic systems. Here’s the video on our Videos page.