Product Design Engineering

Rockwell rewards mishmosh of FIRST student designs

Students who won Rockwell Automation's Engineering Our Future video contest will soon collect on $10,000 worth of cash prizes. In short, kids involved in three FIRST programs made videos to describe designs they'll engineer to make a positive impact. Then winners were selected by popular vote.

The winning FIRST Robotics Competition (FRC) video created by Team Steel Hawks from Townsend Harris High School in Flushing, N.Y. — A Bulwark for the Brain — presents an idea for improving helmets using sensor technology.

We covered some technologies and concerns about helmet technologies a couple years ago, and it remains a controversial topic. What makes the Harris High helmet design different is that it would have visual indicators and connectivity to medical personnel when a player's head is slammed too hard.

The winning FIRST Tech Challenge (FTC) video, Robosave from Team Auto Vortex from Romania, describes an disaster alert gadget that will help inform people of an imminent cataclysmic event. Along the same lines, the winning FIRST LEGO League (FLL) video is made by Team Mechanical Anthem from Portland — ED the Earthquake Detector — detailing an invention for waking people up at night during earthquakes.

"The Engineering Our Future video contest advanced our mission to inspire young people to be innovative thinkers, and let students engage with one of our Strategic Partners on the critical topic of applying engineering in the real world," says Donald E. Bossi, President of FIRST. "We believe that experiences like these will spark a lifelong passion for science and engineering."

Though is was a second-place FRC winner, the one I think is actually most useful and intriguing is the FIRST Foot by the Bonny Eagle Robotics Team (B.E.R.T) — a shoe that collects energy from walking for reuse later:

Runner up in the FRC contest is the REFRESH-772’s Way to Help by Sabre Bytes. Runners-up in the FTC are Engineering in 60 Seconds by Lazybots and Light Up Crosswalk by Kidz 4 Change 4-H Robotics. Runners-up in the FLL are the Safety Hazard Solution by the Tsunami Squad and a Tornado Safe design by the Sycamore Brickbusters.


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