Kids and Robots

Image credit: Jay Cuthrell

Kids and Robots ( 2011 )

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I’m looking at a draft folder of blog posts I plan to publish but I decided one post needed to go up now – kids and robots.

One of the cool aspects of working at VCE is the ability to participate in various activities and outreach programs from Cisco, EMC, and VMware. One such EMC sponsored opportunity jumped out at me since it involved working with local middle school kids in Wake County here in North Carolina… and ROBOTS.

Guess what? They WON and are going on to the next level of NATIONAL competition… and they can use YOUR HELP. [

Moore Square Museums Magnet Middle School and Panther Creek High School bring home the GOLD!

Moore Square Museums Magnet Middle School and Panther Creek HS joined forces to become the first ever VEX Robotics NC State Champions on April 4, 2011 in Greensboro NC.

The Moore Square VEX Robotics Team is an after school club. Club advisor, Mr. TJ Beatty, led a diverse group of 7th and 8th grade students through months of planning, building, testing and rebuilding to prepare for this robotics competition while being sure to stay within the specific parameters given to the team by TSA and VEX. Mr. Beatty boasts about the unrelenting desire shown by his students. “The team met every day before school, two days a week after school and frequently even ate their lunches while working in the lab.” he said.

This year’s competition was titled VEX Roundup. Students were challenged to build a robot that would place plastic donuts onto goal posts of varying heights within the timeframe allotted. The matches were run with 4 robots in the zone at one time operating in a 2 on 2 format. Students had to plan strategies for offense, defense and collaboration. The robots were operated through autonomous (automatic) and driver controlled modes.

The team now prepares to compete at TSA Nationals in Dallas, Texas. This incredible learning experience was made possible by EMC2 from Durham, NC. They sponsored our teams’ start up cost by donating two complete VEX Robotic kits. The Moore Square Museums Magnet Middle School Vex Robotics Team still needs to raise a large amount of money to fund their trip to TSA Nationals. The team is looking for sponsors and donations to help pay for hotel rooms, meals and entry fees. If you are able to help please contact Mr. Beatty at

Support your STATE CHAMPION VEX Robotics Team as they prepare to go to Dallas TX, and compete in the TSA / VEX National Championship – Make Checks payable to “M2M3 PTSA”

The team has done an extraordinary amount of work and added enhancements that go far beyond the first robot prototypes. Some of that work is super secret until they get to the competition floor. A few specific areas that were addressed relate to robot protection strategies and robot power alignment methods.

If you are working at a big company or a startup now, ask yourself how often you stay late to work on something… of how often you find yourself fitting in any spare time you have to work on a pet project or something that really captures your passion.

Guess what?

That’s precisely what these kids are doing right now. They are building sweat equity in their robot creations. And just in case you think this is lightweight engineering… Last week the team was putting together their C programs for autonomous operation.

Also, the team is composed of boys and girls. Women in engineering FTW!!!

Pretty cool eh? Did you get to do stuff like this when you were in middle school??? How can you not help but welcome our new robot overlords?

If you are interesting in adding your support to the team on their trip to nationals you can also reach me via email at work or simply leave a comment.