STORE  |  BLOG  |  SUPPORT  |  DEALER LOGIN  |  CONTACT  |  ESPAÑOL | РУССКИЙ          Follow us on tweeter Follow us on facebook Follow us on Youtube Follow us on Linkedin

Engineering

Category Archives

Purdue College of Technology Enhances Curriculum with Competition

Extra-curricular robotics challenge enhances cross-disciplinary curriculum at Purdue University

Purdue Kokomo

What happens when you take a little inspiration mixed with some competitive challenge, add some vendor support, then toss in some motivated students? It’s a recipe for success in engineering programs as proven by Purdue College of Technology Kokomo. What started off as an extra-curricular robotics challenge has evolved into a full-blown multidisciplinary engineering course that will debut this fall.

A Challenge for Faculty and Students

The seeds of this initiative were planted when members of Purdue Kokomo attended an ASEE (American Society for Engineering Education) conference. A demo at the conference gave the faculty the idea to design a student activity based on a robotics football contest.

They discussed the idea with Paul Copioli, President of VEX. Realizing the potential of the idea, VEX contributed a variety of Vex parts to help initiate the project. Thus the challenge was issued between Purdue College of Technology Kokomo and University of Notre Dame to design and build a team of football-playing robots and compete in an NFL style “combine”.

The combine would test specific robotic “skills” by means of individual events, testing the robot speed, agility, strength and robustness. The skill events would be followed by the teams competing in a scrimmage designed after American football.

The challenge appealed to students on various degree pathways, including Computer and Information Technology, Electrical Engineering Technology, Engineering Technology, and Mechanical Engineering Technology.

The challenge would be achieved using the VEX robotics platform and EasyC programming software as tools. Students held weekly meetings to discuss designs. They were required to develop design specifications and justifications for the design they chose. After a couple of months of training and design meetings, the students completed a working prototype.

Purdue Kokomo Football Prototype

Game Day

The big event was held at the University of Notre Dame’s Joyce Center in April 2014. Five teams participated: Purdue-Kokomo, The U.S. Naval Academy, University of Notre Dame, Purdue-Calumet, and Purdue-South Bend.

Purdue Kokomo Football Combine

Purdue-Kokomo won both the speed and the agility tests, while Navy won the strength test. The scrimmage featured Purdue-Kokomo and Navy teamed up against Notre Dame, with the Kokomo/Navy team defeating Notre Dame 14-0.

Purdue Kokomo Football Speedtest

Read the game story at Purdue website!

A Course is Born

The real winners resulting from the event were the current and future students at Purdue. Since this extracurricular activity was so successful, it has given birth to an entirely new class: “Design of Robotic Systems”. This class will help prepare students for the activity by covering the design principles involved. Topics will include designing mobile robots to accomplish specified performance objectives, developing robotic subsystems, and robotic programming. Throughout the course, students learn the system development process, including planning, documentation, prototyping, testing, and analysis.

The course will be taught by faculty from all four academic areas and will be offered in fall of 2014. This is an excellent example of the value of extra-curricular activities in motivating students and enabling them to take ownership of their educational experience.



Mike Rowe and Mobile Robotics at SkillsUSA!

2014-07_SkillsUSA_Rowe_2360

SkillsUSA is calling this years National Leadership and Skills Conference the best ever – and we would have to agree!

This year, Intelitek’s Automated Manufacturing Technology contest was made a closer replication of the industrial environment. Teams created virtual parts with our CNCMotion software before moving on to the hands-on production with our ProMill 8000. This modification to the contest received great feedback from the competitors and advisors.

The Robotics and Automation contest also ran smoothly again this year with the Puerto Rico team earning the High School Gold Medal and North Arkansas College earning the Post Secondary Championship.

At the Mobile Robotics field, we received a terrific surprise when Mike Rowe, a perennial supporter of CTE and SkillsUSA (also of the Discovery Channel’s “Dirty Jobs” fame), visited the Mobile Robotics competition!

Trevor Pope, Intelitek’s Product Manager and Mobile Robotics competition committee member spent over an hour with Mr. Rowe in the Mobile Robotics contest area showing him what we do. Along with help from RECF, we built him a robot and created a mini competition against the Massachusetts team, which uses EasyC. Mike named the robot “Micro / Macro” and autographed the shielding.
2014-07_SkillsUSA_Rowe_2218

Best yet, Intelitek will be featured on Mike Rowe’s new CNN show “Somebody’s Gotta Do It“! The program is expected to air on CNN in October. This will provide extensive publicity to Intelitek’s REC program and EasyC on a national news network!

Working with Mr. Rowe at SkillUSA was great fun, and were glad to be a part of the work he does in creating awareness of the awesome opportunities that exist for students in career and technology education!
See our Facebook page for more pictures!


ACTE Wrap-up

Thanks for a great ACTE experience!

Intelitek's team at ACTE

CareerTech VISION 2013 was a great success!

Thanks to all who visited us at ACTE’s CareerTech VISION 2013 event! Your positive response to the many changes happening at Intelitek reinforces our excitement for the coming year!

Certifications

The availability of portable certifications has opened up new possibilities for our programs. To learn more about these new resources visit the links below:

 

Flexible Manufacturing Cart

Motoman integrated vision cart

We are excited about the potential for the integrated Motoman robotic vision system. This system demonstrates our unique capability to work with industrial partners to bring flexible solutions to the classroom that will deliver real-world skills.

New Marketing Resources

Intelitek's 2014 product catalog

We rolled out Intelitek’s first product catalog that includes the entire portfolio of products available globally. The catalog is always available online anywhere anytime:

Product Catalog

You can always find the link in the footer of our website.
More resources are also available on our Resources and Downloads page.

We look forward to the coming year! We expect great things to happen for career and technical education!


Survey Points to Growth in STEM Education Budgets!

Congratulations to our prize winners who participated in our recent survey on the state of STEM education in the USA!

  • iPad winner: Mike Weaver
  • iPod winner: Rick Vaughn
  • iTunes winners: Richard Hill, Tammy Wesson

The survey responses point to encouraging trends in STEM education:

45% of respondents expect their budget for STEM programs to increase.

This is great news! Despite challenging times for many states and districts, STEM education is growing. Only 25% responded that their budgets were shrinking. We know that any growth in this sector is only due to the hard work of those supporting and advocating for STEM – teachers, administrators, public officials, as well as student organizations, parents, mentors and volunteers. We salute all of you!

The fastest growing STEM education program is green technology.

Programs related to alternative energy, sustainability, wind, solar and other green economy topics are on the rise, when measured by definite plans to establish new curriculum. This is more good news! The shortage of skilled workers for the critical green economy is well-documented. Now more students will have the opportunity to develop skills and pursue rewarding, sustainable careers thanks to these new programs. We see this as an example of the education community stepping up to the challenge to provide in-demand skills for tomorrow’s world. We may have a ways to go, but we are on our way!

The most important criteria for selecting new equipment for STEM labs is quality of the equipment.

The quality of the lab equipment directly affects the sustainability of a STEM program. Poor quality equipment can undermine the vigorous efforts it takes to get STEM programs off the ground and engage students. High quality equipment can help keep programs thriving and effective. Our survey respondents reflected this fact by consistently rating quality as the most important factor when selecting equipment.

Thanks again to all who took our survey and congratulations to our winners!


VEX World Champion Interview: Joshua Wade

One of the most successful Vex Robotics Competition teams ever has a unique aspect – it has only one member. Joshua Wade, from Orwell, OH, the sole member of Team 1103, went on to become 2010 Vex Robotics Programming Skills Challenge World Champion and the 2011 Vex Robotics National Champion.

What helped Josh become so successful? One of the tools in Joshua’s arsenal was easyC, Intelitek’s intuitive robotic programming software. With it he accomplished some exceptional robotic programming feats. We asked Josh to give us his perspective on his accomplishments.

What got you interested in VEX Robotics?
Even at a very young age, I had an interest in robotics and engineering. In 2006, when I was 12 years old, my Dad bought me an original VEX starter kit for Christmas. I can say without a doubt that it was the best Christmas present I ever received. Over the next few years I received several additional VEX kits and spent a great deal of time programming the hobbyist robots that I designed.

How did you develop your programming skills?
When I was 14, having worked with VEX robots for about a year, I was introduced to programming VEX robots. At that time, programming in general was completely new to me. I found easyC to be very user-friendly and quickly learned how to write basic programs. Though programming always came very naturally to me, I spent a great deal of time working with easyC before I was able to write more advanced programs.

How did you come up with your design? What were some other ideas you had?
Before starting on my 2010-2011 robot, I spent many long hours at the drawing board considering various design concepts. Early on I knew that I wanted a purely-vertical lifting mechanism. I did consider using a scissor
lift but later rejected that idea in favor of the chained linear slide lift that I had thought of following the 2010 VRC World Championships.

Because I was very interested in the two skills challenges, particularly the Programming Skills, a claw seemed like the best choice for actually manipulating the tubes. The inspiration for the passive high hanging mechanism actually came from rock climbing equipment. I needed a hook that would easily attach to the side of the Ladder even if the base of the robot was imperfectly positioned. The idea to tilt the lift mechanism using pneumatic pistons came after seeing a similar tilting mechanism on a forklift.

How much time did you spend working on your robot?
I began building my VEX Round Up robot in August of 2010. Throughout the competition season I worked 30-40 hours a week building, programming and practicing with the robot. By April of 2011, I had logged roughly 1200 hours.

What are your plans for the future?
In college I would like to take mechanical engineering with a minor in computer science. Right now I am considering Georgia Institute of Technology in Atlanta. After college I plan to go into robotics.

As the sole member of one of the most successful VRC teams ever, what advice do you have for other students who participate in the program?
I feel that the most important advice I can give to another is to work hard and be committed. To quote Thomas Edison, “Genius is one percent inspiration and ninety-nine percent perspiration.”

***
Team 1103 is a great example of the unlimited potential students have when engaged and motivated by their educational environment. Joshua’s success also shows that competitive robotics is an excellent way to provide that environment for more students!