ATS and FIRST Robotics

After the tour of ATS's repair facilities... Do you need a Modicon 984 repaired? They can do it, up to and including remanufacturing circuit boards that aren't available anymore. I think they can fix just about any control or automation product anywhere. Their metrology lab may well be the best one in the rivals the Fluke metrology lab in technology and capabilites. Whew. But I digress. After Bob Avila talked to me about the "we can't hire 'em so we've decided to go out and manufacture them ourselves" approach to workforce development (ISA! Listen up!), ATS's First Robotics team got out of school and came over to meet me. Bluntly, I was honored and humbled by what I saw. I hope they didn't see the tears. 24 high school students (including 6 young women) belong to Team Icarus 2081Team Icarus Logo, who have been to the finals in two of the three years the team has been in existence (including this coming April 15th in Atlanta)...and are real dynamos. The students gave me a detailed and highly professional briefing on the team, its members, its advisors and mentors, and sponsors (main sponsors ATS and NASA). One of the competitions Team Icarus entered this year was to create an animation of a proposed design invention. They chose a waste-to-energy design, and have posted their animation on YouTube: They couldn't show me the 2008 robot, because it was, per the FIRST Robotics rules, sitting in a box in Atlanta waiting for the finals competition, but they gave me a detailed demo of the 2007 robot, which I was astounded to learn, was built almost entirely by the team itself, with only coaching and mentoring by the adults, as you can see from these pictures. If you want to see the full blown demo I saw, here are the links: Autonomous Mode - Raise Arm for Tubes: Autonomous

Defense Mode - Defense Placement - Placement Ramp Deployment - Ramps Ramps - Ramps 2 Full Demo - Full Robot Demo As I was leaving, one of the team members presented me with a team button, which I will wear proudly everytime I talk about workforce development from now on.