Along with a number of parents and Foothill High students, Neal Winblad, an engineer with Transdyn Controls, has discovered the ultimate after-school activity of the future: participation in a nationwide robotics competition.
Sponsored by Transdyn and its Hacienda neighbors at Hewlett-Packard, Lucent Technologies, and Pacific Bell, among others, the group participated in last year's For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology (FIRST) Robotics competition, both regionally and at the national finals held at Epcot Center in Orlando, Florida.
The two competitions, which require $9,000 in entry fees, involve creating robots to participate in competitive games designed to test their capabilities as well as those of their builders and operators.
Everyone agrees that it was a great experience for the kids. "They will remember this for the rest of their lives," says Winblad.
It was educational as well. Winblad's long list of skills learned by the students includes "creativity, electrical design, project management, materials science, working as a team," and many more.
The group is looking for sponsors for this year as well. Besides the entry fees, they need funds for materials, travel, and lodging.
"We're also looking for volunteer engineers, project managers, parents, and other adults who can help mentor these kids," says Winblad.
Call Winblad at (925) 225-1600 ext. 134 for information, or get in touch via e-mail.
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