Sunday, September 30, 2012

4-Armed Robot Drummer

Here is an interesting use of robotics. A 4-armed drumming robot.

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Sponsor Highlight: Urethane Supply Co.

While the Northeast Alabama BEST Hub is hosted by Northeast Alabama Community College, it receives a significant amount of support from its partner agencies and sponsors. One such sponsor is Urethane Supply Company. Urethane Supply Company's mission is to provide everything needed to repair and refinish automotive plastic. Visit their website to find a world of innovative products for the plastic repair industry. 

We appreciate their support!

Friday, September 28, 2012

Time Slots for Practice Day

The Expo will be open to the general public from 3-6 pm. 
Practice day will be Thursday, October 18 at the Northeast Alabama Agri-Business Center in Rainsville. Each team will be allotted at least one hour on a left tower and one hour on a right tower. Additional time slots may be available.

Practice (Mall) Day serves two purposes:
  • It allows teams to practice driving their robot on the actual playing field
  • It provides exposure of BEST Robotics to local industry and the general public
Since our practice day will take place at the Made in DeKalb Expo, we would like to have at least one team practicing at all times during the day. This will provide the most exposure to the community.

Time slots for practice will be determined in the following manner:
  • Each team number will be placed in an online randomizer in numerical order. 
  • We will randomize the numbers (once) to give us a team order. 
  • Teams will select their time slots (right and left tower) in the order assigned by the randomizer. 
  • We will repeat the process to allow teams to sign up for additional time slots (optional)
This method will assure that teams receive one hour to practice on a left tower and one hour to practice on a right tower. We encourage teams to sign up for additional practice times and plan some time to visit the booths in the expo. Because teams will come and go throughout the day, we will not be serving lunch. Please make arrangements for your team to bring a lunch or visit a nearby restaurant. 

Important note: The expo will be open throughout the day for various groups. It will be open from 3-6 pm for the general public, so parents and friends may attend during that time. 

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

South's BEST Announces Number of Advancing Teams

South's BEST recently announced the number of teams from each hub that would advance to South's BEST Regional Competition, to be held December 1-2, 2012 at Auburn University. Northeast Alabama BEST hub will be able to send 2 teams to South's BEST.

Therefore, the first place BEST Award team at Northeast Alabama BEST will compete in the BEST Award (including robot competition) at South's BEST. The first place robot winner at Northeast Alabama BEST will compete in the robot competition only at Auburn.

South's BEST encompasses the following BEST Robotics hubs:
  • War Eagle BEST
  • Blazer BEST
  • Mississippi BEST
  • Georgia BEST
  • Music City BEST
  • Central AL BEST
  • Northwest AL BEST
  • Tennessee Valley BEST
  • Jubilee BEST
  • Emerald Coast BEST
  • North Alabama BEST
  • Wiregrass BEST
  • Northeast AL BEST
  • Selma BEST
  • Shelton State BEST
  • Wolverine BEST
  • Connecticut BEST
There are 346 teams competing in the South's BEST Region for 2012. Of that 346, 56 teams will be invited to compete in South's BEST. Of those 56, 33 will be eligible to compete for the BEST Award. All 56 will be able to compete in the robotics competition.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Important Note About Your Kit

Teams: Please note that the VEX Motor Mounting Kit that was placed in your Returnable Kit should have been placed in your Consumable Kit. Therefore, you may bend, cut, or modify these mounts to meet  your needs. They do not need to be returned. If you modify them, please be sure that you do not break any of the game or generic rules.

Please also note, under Tab 4 in your notebook, the approved optional items that you can use to build your robot. 

Check out the Best Robotics, Inc. Site

If you haven't had time to do so yet, be sure to check out the Best Robotics, Inc. site. A visit to the Participants tab will give you a wealth of information. The Official Q&A should be your best friend by now. But also be sure to check out Public Files, which contains a great deal of information and tools that will help you.

Please take a few minutes to peruse this site. You'll be glad that you did!

Monday, September 24, 2012

Technical Training Day

Technical Training Day was held Saturday, September 22 in the Industrial Systems Technology building on the NACC campus. Complimentary training sessions on EasyC programming and wire connections and soldering were provided by NACC.

Bronson Edmonds, a mechanical engineering student from UA - Huntsville and former member of the Marshall County Technical School team, taught EasyC programming.

Dennis Lester taught about wire connections and soldering.

"We appreciate these instructors giving of their time on a Saturday morning to help our teams become more successful in BEST," stated Dr. Mike Kennamer, BEST Hub co-director.

More photos are posted on our Flickr page. 

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

CAD Models of Kit Components

Some teams have asked about locating predrawn CAD models of kit components. To locate, go to Click on "Participants" and "File Manager". Choose "Public Files" then select "CAD Models".

Let us know if you have any difficulty. 

Wisdom from Thomas Edison

Thomas Edison said, "Inspiration can be found in a pile of junk. Sometimes, you can put it together with a good imagination and invent something."

Well, BEST teams... Look inside your consumables box. You have the "pile of junk". Now invent!

Thomas Alva Edison was born February 11, 1847 and died October 18, 1931. During his lifetime he registered 1,093 patents in the U.S. and others in Europe. His inventions include a long-lasting light bulb, movie camera, stock ticker, and a mechanical voting machine. He is also credited for building the first industrial research lab in Menlo Park, New Jersey.

Other Thomas Edison quotes include:
  • "Genius is one per cent inspiration and ninety-nine per cent perspiration. Accordingly, a  'genius' is often merely a talented person who has done all of his or her homework." 
  • Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work.
  • Many of life's failures are experienced by people who did not realize how close they were to success when they gave up.  
  • Just because something doesn't do what you planned it to do in the first place doesn't mean it's useless...
  • Results? Why, man, I have gotten lots of results! If I find 10,000 ways something won't work, I haven't failed. I am not discouraged, because every wrong attempt discarded is often a step forward....  
  • Surprises and reverses can serve as an incentive for great accomplishment. There are no rules here, we're just trying to accomplish something.
Quotes courtesy of 

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

10 Teams...42 Days...1 Challenge...

Students watch robot demonstrations in the lobby prior to kick off.
Teams from ten schools across northeast Alabama converged on the Tom Bevill Lyceum on the NACC campus Saturday to kick off the 2012 BEST Robotics competition.

Teams participating in this year's competition include:
  • Marshall Technical School
  • Scottsboro High School
  • Woodville High School
  • Pisgah High School
  • North Jackson High School
  • Fort Payne High School
  • Ider High School
  • Fyffe High School
  • North Sand Mountain High School
  • DeKalb County Technology Center
At the kick off, each team is given a box of parts and a problem to solve. Their job is to solve the problem using only items that are provided for them. The next event is Practice Day, where teams will be given time to practice driving their robots on the playing field. 

Saturday, September 15, 2012

BEST 2012 is Underway!

Students, teachers, and mentors from 10 schools gathered at the Tom Bevill Lyceum on the Northeast Alabama Community College campus today to kick off the 2012 BEST season. Photos and videos will be posted in the coming days, but here is a quick look at the excitement generated by this year's Kick Off. 

Next event: Optional Training Day
Saturday, September 22, 2012
8:00 am until noon
NACC Industrial Systems Technology Building 
Workshops will be offered on soldering and wire connections and EasyC. 

Easy C Workshop - Bring a laptop loaded with EasyC if you would like to participate in the EasyC workshop.

Soldering Workshop - Bring your own soldering iron and solder. 

Please RSVP to Nicole Carroll if you plan to attend. 

Friday, September 14, 2012

The Countdown Begins...

Bean Counters

Wow! Can you believe that Kick Off Day is tomorrow? Last December when we started this journey we thought September seemed so far away. But here we are...

Several of our faculty and staff members got together earlier this week to finalize putting together kits. Even medical assisting instructors helped out as we counted 25 of this and 100 of that.

We can't wait to see everyone tomorrow as we kick off BEST 2012!

Bean Counters: (L to R) Marilyn Dalton, Ronny Kisor, Nicole Carroll, Rachel Walker

Cutting Crew: (L to R) Dennis Lester, Will Roberts

Cutting Crew

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

2012 BEST Teams Announced

Northeast Alabama BEST Robotics is pleased to announce the teams participating 2012:
  • Marshall Technical School
  • Scottsboro High School
  • Woodville High School
  • Pisgah High School
  • North Jackson High School
  • Fort Payne High School
  • Ider High School
  • Fyffe High School
  • North Sand Mountain High School
  • DeKalb County Technology Center
We look forward to seeing all these teams at Kick Off on Saturday!

Monday, September 10, 2012

Sponsor Highlight: Berry & Dunn Office Equipment

While the Northeast Alabama BEST Hub is hosted by Northeast Alabama Community College, it receives a significant amount of support from its partner agencies and sponsors. One such sponsor is Berry & Dunn Office Equipment. With locations in Scottsboro, Fort Payne and Rainsville, Berry & Dunn is "your complete one stop office supply and equipment dealer."

We appreciate their support!

Sunday, September 9, 2012

NACC Employees Attend Central AL Kickoff

Northeast Alabama BEST staff recently attended the kick off event for Central Alabama BEST Robotics. The visit, which took place on Saturday, September 8 was intended to help Northeast Alabama BEST personnel assure that all systems are go for a September 15 launch of Northeast Alabama BEST Robotics.

Mike Kennamer, Northeast Alabama BEST Hub Co-Director, stated that the Northeast Alabama BEST team wants to make sure that its first Kick Off is one that will be memorable for all involved. "It is so fitting that this year's game has a space theme," stated Kennamer. "We feel like we are preparing for a launch around here."
NACC employees Debbie Wooten, Nicole Carroll, and Sherry
Whitten strategize about the upcoming Kick Off event. 
The past two weeks have been busy ones making last minute preparations for Kick Off, including purchasing supplies for the consumable kits and putting together the show for next Saturday.

Attending the Kick Off event at the Central Alabama hub gave hub leaders an opportunity to shadow another hub and to learn how they run their Kick Off event. Like the Central Alabama event, the Northeast Alabama event will be high energy and fast paced. Central Alabama BEST Robotics is hosted by Central Alabama Community College and supported by a number of local sponsors.

"So far nine teams have officially registered on Robot Events," stated Nicole Carroll, Northeast Alabama BEST Robotics Hub Director, who attended the Central Alabama event last Saturday. "We have room for 12 teams, so the next three that sign up will be able to compete this year," said Carroll.

Besides Carroll, others attending the Central Alabama event on Saturday were Sherry Whitten, Debbie Wooten, Dennis Lester, and Mike Kennamer.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Returnable Kits Prepared

Here's a sneak peek at one of our returnable kits. Each team will receive one of these, as well as all the consumable supplies, on Kick Off Day. It's just over a week away, and we are excited and preparing for a fun-filled Kick Off.

Teams should be sure that they sign up on Robot Events. We only have 12 slots  available for this year; registrations are taken on a first-come, first-served basis. If you have not yet signed up on Robot Events, please do so and contact Nicole Carroll to assure that your registration has been received.

Get ready for the countdown...

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Robot Events Registration

It has come to our attention that there was a problem with registration in Robot Events where some teams were unable to register. That issue has been corrected. Please register your team at this week and follow up with Nicole Carroll ( to confirm your registration.

Monday, September 3, 2012

Kick Off Schedule Released

The schedule for kick off has been released and is available for download here. This document, along with others, is available on the Team Resources page. Additional documents will be posted here after kick off day.

Teams are encouraged to use this draft schedule to plan their day. Each team should have at least one team member in each session. As you look at the schedule you will see that there are five tracks:
  • Track A - BEST Award
  • Track B - Engineering Notebook
  • Track C - SolidWorks Software
  • Track D - Robot Game and Scoring
  • Track E - Field Viewing
Here are some tips for preparing for kick off day:
  1. Bring as many team members, teachers and mentors as possible. Divide and conquer. Decide who will attend each session so that your team will be prepared. For example, your design people should attend the SolidWorks session.
  2. Take good notes. Jot down ideas, and share what you learn with your team members. 
  3. Designate at least one person to be the rules guru for your team. Go to the sessions on rules and learn how to find rules updates and ask questions about the rules. 
  4. Pay close attention to the kick off event as it will provide vital information about this year's challenge.
  5.  Be prepared to measure and examine the playing field at your appointed time. Bring tape measures, cameras and a video camera so that you can record all the details of the field. Several teams build a scaled-down version of a mock up of the field on which to practice.
  6. Network with teams from other schools. 
  7. Have fun!
Each team will receive an email with registration materials prior to kick off. The leader of each team should complete this paperwork and bring it with them on kick off day.

Pizza will be provided for lunch.