Science Fair — Redefined

How the basic high school science project has changed.

popularity

Being a geek at heart from an early age, I recall entering many science fair competitions while growing up in New York. Once, I made it to the citywide finals with a model of how chain reactions happen using ball bearings. My illustrious invention career also included a seismograph, an electric arc light and a working DC motor. None of those made the cut, but they were fun to build. I’m sure a lot of you have stories like these, too. In my last post, I mentioned the Maker movement. Ever wonder where makers come from? I found the location of one training ground recently.

Through one of our employees, I got connected to his son’s version of the science fair — a robot competition. This is clearly the old science fair idea on steroids. The charter statement of the event is:

High school-aged teams compete head to head on a special playing field with robots they have designed, built, and programmed.

You can find this information and more at http://www.firstinspires.org/. This is a global competition, but a team must first qualify by competing in regional, statewide, and national events before it can compete at this level.

On January 9th, 2016, the details of this season’s game will be released, and each team will have six weeks to build a robot for use in their region’s competition. Games always require the collaboration of two teams, each consisting of three individual teams and their robots. Teams are also encouraged to reach out to their communities and spread interest in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM). As you can see, this is a lot more than a geek building a gadget.

I couldn’t resist. eSilicon is now the proud sponsor of Team 5160: The Chargers. You can check them out at https://www.thebluealliance.com/team/5160. I particularly like their tagline:

Putting the awe in chaos

So our eSilicon logo will now be on a competitive robot. As the games get underway, we’ll be posting results to our Twitter and Facebook accounts. I know the Super Bowl is in the same time frame and in the Bay Area this year, but I think this is much more interesting (apologies to the NFL).

esiliconpic

Follow along next year and root for our robot. In the meantime, have a great holiday season and a happy and prosperous new year.