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VEX Skyrise – Lessons from Team 1103!

VEX Round Up Champion Team 1103 – Compound Chain Lifting Mechanism

With the release of the 2014 VEX SkyRise challenge , mechanisms and strategies for lifting are a hot topic among potential competitors! We have fielded many inquiries about the lifting mechanism from Team 1103’s robot which won the 2010 championship. 1103 is one of the most successful VEX robot designs and lifting mechanisms ever created! No doubt there are some excellent lessons and principles in the design of the 1103 robot that could apply to Skyrise.

Vex Team 1103 robot

Team 1103 is a rarity – a one man team. Joshua Wade – whom we interviewed in 2011 – is the sole team member. Team 1103 has won several regional contests and awards including the 2010 VEX robotics Programming Skills Challenge World Champion and the 2011 Vex Robotics National Champion for the 2010-2011 Round Up season.

Design

The 1103 robot uses a compound chained linear slide lifting mechanism reaching 40″ high. The base of the claw lifts to 23″ off the ground. Principles of this lifting design as well as other lifting concepts are available in Intelitek’s Robotics Engineering Curriculum (REC 2 Unit 11 – Lift Systems).

The purely vertical multiple-stage lift uses 17.5″ slides cut to 15″ and operates using a total of six 269 motors coupled in three sets of two motors. Each motor is linked to a single output shaft with a 1:1 ratio.
REC 1 Unit 3 – Gears and Gear Trains explains the physics principles involved in designing gears and gear trains. The output gearing is reduced with 2 sets of 1-1.5 reductions using 12, 18 and 24-toothed cogs. These motors and gears provide enough power to lift the entire robot off the ground.

VEX Team 1103 robot lift mechanism

1103 motors, cogs and chain drive

Programming

The exceptional programming was performed using Intelitek’s EasyC V4 for Cortex programming software. The intuitive environment of EasyC allows users to quickly learn skills needed to become an advanced programmer.

The 1103 robot program utilizes PID control giving the ability to hold the lifting mechanism using feedback from a quadrature encoder and limit switch which control the position of the lift. Wade wrote the program using the easyC sample file “PID Interrupt Service Routine” modified for the quadrature encoder. PID control loops hold the arm position at six different increments giving the operator quick and easy points to maintain elevation of the arm and hold the ring pick up position. This delivers the ability to score (and de-score) on both the floor weeble goals and wall goal posts, offering excellent application for the Skyrise challenge!

Team 1103 is a great example of the unlimited potential students have when engaged and motivated by their educational environment. The success shows that competitive robotics is the means of providing that environment for many more students.

You can check out the 1103 robot in person at our upcoming events, including the SkillsUSA National Championship June 25th and 26th in Kansas City, Mo!

Get your free trial! A full-featured 7-day trial of easyC V4 for Cortex is available here!

Try easyC!


EasyC v4 Update

easyC update

We are happy to announce the latest update to EasyC®!

EasyC v4 for VEX Robotics now delivers event more usability and compatibility with VEXnet 2.0! The update is free to all licensed users of easyC v4!

Improved Features

    • Compatibility with VEXnet firmware upgrade utility v4.1.0 and mastercode v4.2 for Joystick and Cortex
    • System Info shows wireless connection method: VEXnet 1.0 or VEXnet 2.
    • EasyC VEX System Info Radio firmware verification
    • Four new Smart Tasks -> Robot Driving easyC function blocks for curve driving
      • Drive Curve
      • Drive Curve – Time Control
      • Drive Curve Degrees (for Smart Motors)
      • Drive Curve Rotations (for Smart Motors)
    • New Ultrasonic sensor function block returns distance in centimeters and inches
    • Various other enhancements

Learn more about EasyC here!

Upgrade now! Visit the EasyC update page to start taking advantage of these new features!

Upgrade now!


You can also update from the EasyC window: Click Help > Check for Updates.


Skilled Trades: Hardest Postions for Employers to Fill

Manpower Skilled Trades Report

STEM Education Essential for Solving the Talent Shortage

According to research by ManpowerGroup, for the fourth year in a row, skilled trades rank as the most difficult jobs to fill in the United States. The root cause is the lack of skilled engineers, machinists, electricians, mechanics, and technicians available in today’s workforce.

These professions requiring skilled talent are emerging at a faster rate than they can be filled. For those pursuing careers in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM), this presents a world of opportunity. Constantly changing technologies demand new skills, resulting in the creation of new jobs. Meanwhile, a majority of skilled workers in the U.S. are either approaching or exceeding age 50, indicating an even greater demand for these jobs in the future.

What is the solution? Effective STEM education!

Manpower report: Get training

As shown in the Manpower report, STEM education provides the best opportunity to close the skills gap. Whether through 4-year degrees, two-year career programs or shorter certificate programs, STEM education equips students with the skills that lead to high-demand, high-salaried, meaningful jobs. Students who pursue careers in the fields of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics are creating better potential and more security for their futures, as well as for the futures of their respective economies.


SkillsNH Students set Sights on National Competition

March 14th kicked off this year’s annual SkillsUSA NH State Skills and Leadership conference, wherein students competed for the title of best-in-state across 30 events related to technical, skilled, and service occupations. We were proud to host the Automated Manufacturing Technology (AMT) competition at our Manchester, NH, headquarters on March 21st. It is always rewarding to see firsthand students fully engaged in their education, involved in a program that truly makes a difference in their lives. Andrew Clark, Alec Lemelin and Jacob Paradis from the Richard W. Creteau Regional Technology Center at Spaulding High School in Rochester, NH, won gold at this years event. On to on Kansas City for the SkillsUSA National Leadership and Skills Conference!

The Skills competitions convey the value of collaboration and teamwork in a tangible way. Communicating, defining roles, managing time – all these are part of the process in competitive events, and students realize the value in a more concrete manner that through conceptual instruction.

To see these students succeeding, thriving, and setting goals in such an educational environment demonstrates how effective competitive events are in helping students reach their potential by delivering tangible job-ready, college-ready skills.

In the process, we also help to bridge the skills gap in the workforce even in some of the hardest to fill positions! More on that phenomenon in a later post. For now, we simply tip our hat to the great SkillsUSA students competing over the past month, and offer our thanks for the reminder of why all of us at Intelitek are so proud to do what we do in support of education!


High School Program fills Industry Need for Skilled Graduates

SUNY Adirondack

Adirondack Community College, part of State University of New York (SUNY), and WSWHE BOCES (Washington-Saratoga- Warren-Hamilton-Essex Board of Cooperative Educational Services) have teamed up in an innovative program to prepare students to be career- and college-ready.

A robust college experience for high school students

The Early College High School Program, part of a public-private partnership, takes a new approach to dual-enrollment. Instead of offering college-credit programs at their own high school campus, students are bussed to SUNY Adirondack’s college campus for a half-day of courses co-taught by SUNY professors and the WSWHE BOCES high school CTE instructor.

SUNY Adirondack and WSWHE

This first-in-the-nation strategy delivers a robust college experience for high school students, with the goal of bolstering their skills and credentials upon graduation. Available starting in the junior year for students who pass the placement exam, participants can earn 7 credits
each semester, up to 24 college credits by the end of the 2-year program.

Multiple pathways to success

The program provides multiple pathways to success for students. For students seeking direct-to-workforce employment, four industry certifications are available. The dual-enrollment credits also seamlessly integrate into Adirondack’s Electrical Technology
Associates degree program. Credits also transfer to any 2- or 4-year degree program.
SUNY Adirondack WSWHE student

Project-based learning prepares students for industry certification

Project-based learning is the backbone of this program, featuring hands-on activities with industrial-level manufacturing equipment. Intelitek, a global developer of career and technology training systems specializing in advanced manufacturing, provided curriculum for the program. Students can access online curriculum through an e-learning platform that guides them through projects using the classroom hardware in topics like CAD, precision measurement, mechanical systems and electrical systems.

“Intelitek courses provide excellent exam prep for the MSSC assessments”

The relevant curriculum helps connect students to relevant skills needed in the workforce, thus helping to meet the program’s goal to connect the skills taught in the classroom with the needs of employers. To validate these skills, students also have the opportunity to earn industry certifications throughout the course. At the end of semester 1, students can take the MSSC Safety assessment; semester 2 leads to the Quality Practices & Measurement certification; Semester 3 -Manufacturing Processes & Production; and semester 4 prepares students for the Maintenance Awareness assessment.

“The Intelitek courses provide excellent exam prep for the MSSC assessments.” says Gage Simpson, Career and Technology Instructor for the WSHWE BOCES. In order to teach the courses, Simpson needed to pass the same assessments.
SUNY Adirondack WSWHE student

SUNY Chancellor Nancy Zimpher praised Early College High School’s “innovative program that connects high school, college and the world of work, all aligned through a single challenging curriculum that keeps students focused, engaged and excited.” Such a collaboration between industry and education can serve as a model for success.
SUNY Adirondack WSWHE student



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