Will the rise of robotics and artificial intelligence in the workplace eventually rob today’s students of tomorrow’s careers? The question has become a growing concern among experts and researchers in the education and technology arena. In fact, earlier this month, a survey from the Pew Research Center of 1,408 experts in the field found that a full one-third of them believed that education systems would not evolve enough within the next 10 years to prepare workers for future jobs. Read the Article
Astronauts (L-R) Timothy Kopra, Jeff Williams and Timothy Peake share a meal around the galley table designed and manufactured by Cypress-Fairbanks ISD students partially build using the Intelitek Spectralight CNC Machine. (Photo courtesy NASA HUNCH)
On March 22nd this year, the Orbital ATK Cygnus spacecraft launched from Cape Canaveral, destination the international space station and on board, buried in between 7500 lbs. of supplies was a very unique piece of equipment designed and created by the Cypress Woods and Cypress Springs High Schools in Cypress, Texas.
Under the instruction of industrial technology teacher Mike Bennett and as part of the HUNCH program, that involves students in fabricating real-world products for NASA as they apply their science, technology, engineering and mathematics skills, the students designed a galley table for the space station to serve the astronauts. The HUNCH program — High School Students United with NASA to Create Hardware has been running for 12 years already.
NASA contacted Mike in 2013. “They needed a focal point for everyone to meet together in the space station to share a table for a meal or a workspace,” Bennett said. “This was a great teaching opportunity and It makes it even more rewarding to know that we contributed a functional piece of hardware already being used.”
The students, participants in Mike Bennett’s advanced engineering design and engineering design classes, worked with the Johnson Space Center and Lockheed-Martin to create the design, then manufacture and build the prototypes and final version that was sent to space in March. The team used the Intelitek industrial manufacturing classroom tools in Mike’s lab including the spectraLIGHT CNC machine to create some of the parts needed for this project.
The fold-up table was designed with a latch system that allows it to be pulled up and out, doubling its length. One side is set up for a smooth surface with Velcro dots that can be attached to hold objects in zero-gravity. The other side features a seat track with clamps and holders ideal for a work circle.
Cypress Woods students in the precision metal class performed machining on the table parts using the Intelitek CNC machine. spectraLIGHT is an earlier predecessor to Intelitek’s latest milling, turning and machining solutions for industrial education classes. Intelitek designs and delivers education programs and teaching hardware that is industrial grade and is integrated with comprehensive curriculum, programming software, and pre-production simulation tools. This enables educators like Mike Bennett to teach beginners and advanced students. The programs take students from the most basic level to the point where they can manufacture NASA parts.
Intelitek’s mission is to teach career readiness skills – our programs are designed to teach students both in high school and at vocational or college level schools with the skills and knowledge real job providers are looking for. Intelitek Advanced Technology Programs teach relevant job skills using real-world tools focused on desirable industry specialties and in-demand trades.
The learning portfolio teaches methodologies and operations for areas like industrial robotics, manufacturing, materials handling, prototyping, hydraulics, mechatronics, electrical, CIM, process control and industrial maintenance. For more about Intelitek and to find a dealer near you go to www.intelitek.com
Owen Theeke from Cypress Woods High School is seen here machining aluminum rods. After cleaning, the rods were then sent for anodizing. (Photo courtesy NASA HUNCH and Cypress-Fairbanks Independent School District)
In the middle picture, Leah Hepburn from Oak Ridge High School is inserting the anodized rods as stiffeners into the Payload Pantry. (Photo courtesy NASA HUNCH and Cypress-Fairbanks Independent School District)
The two parts of the Payload Pantry with the aluminum rods going the length of the bags. The stiffeners are what allow the mesh covers to close properly so items don’t float out in zero gravity (Photo courtesy NASA HUNCH and Cypress-Fairbanks Independent School District)
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.
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!