ARL Employee Mentors Award-Winning Robotics Team
January 12, 2010
Tech Brick FTC Team 7, a robotics team from Harford County, Md. mentored by U.S. Army Research Laboratory employee Chris Hoppel, earned the Inspire Award at the US FIRST Maryland State Championship held at the College of Southern Maryland on Dec. 5.
The Inspire Award is the highest recognition in the FIRST Technical Challenge (FTC) and qualifies the team to compete in the world championship in Atlanta, Ga. in April. The award recognizes technical performance, outreach to the community, robot design, team spirit, and engineering accomplishment. Tech Brick was also part of the Maryland winning alliance with G-Force from Garrett County.
To earn the award, the team of 10 high school students designed and built a robot to compete in the FTC Hot Shot Challenge. In this challenge, robots collect plastic balls and shoot them into three goals on a 12-foot by 12-foot playing field. The robot competed in a series of two and half minute tournaments, each with a 30-second autonomous period and a two-minute joystick-controlled period. During the development of the robot, the Tech Brick team kept a detailed engineering notebook to describe the design and fabrication process.
This is Hoppel's second year leading an FTC robotics team. He noted that he enjoys working with the students and helping them develop new engineering skills, including engineering design, computer programming and team communications.
Tech Brick is a home-schooled robotics club with over 60 members on six different teams: one Junior First Lego League team (for elementary school students), four First Lego League teams (for middle school students), and one FIRST Tech Challenge Team (for high school students).
US FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) is a national robotics program that inspires young people to be science and technology leaders. It engages them in exciting mentor-based programs that build science, engineering and technology skills; inspire innovation; and foster well-rounded life capabilities including self-confidence, communication, and leadership.