Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Score One for Robotics in Minnesota!

The Star Tribune of Minneapolis recently reported that there are now more robotics teams than hockey teams in Minnesota schools. According to the article, "Robotics team members are getting varsity letters and patches, being paraded before school assemblies like other sports stars and seeing trophies in the same lobby display cases as their football, basketball or baseball counterparts."

The article indicates that there are now more than 4,600 students participating on robotics teams in Minnesota. And for the first time ever, there are 180 robotics teams and 156 high school boys' hockey teams. Please read and share this excellent article among your network of contacts. It also includes a video so you can see the impact that robotics is making in Minnesota.

Check out the article here. 

Monday, January 28, 2013

Want to Build Your Own Humanoid Robot?

Want to build your own humanoid robot? Silly question. Of course you do!

It has never been easier since InMoov has provided plans for an open source humanoid robot on their website. Crafted from parts made by a 3D Printer, InMoov has seen a number of improvements over the past few months. And all the failures and successes are placed online for all to see. Here's a video about InMoov.

Never seen a 3D Printer? Northeast Alabama Community College's drafting department has one. A few years ago you could expect to pay $50,000 for one. Today, consumer models are being sold for a small fraction of that price. What a great way to design and prototype parts. 

Friday, January 25, 2013

Hand Crafted Furniture...By a Robot?

You've likely seen them. Some guy (or girl) uses a chainsaw to carve a piece of furniture while everyone stands around and secretly thinks, "I could do that...couldn't I?" It takes skill, a sharp saw, a steady hand, and most importantly, the ability to see the chair or animal that is inside an otherwise unremarkable log.

Photo source: Fast Company Design
But could a robot be programmed to do that? Of course it could!

Fast Company Design reports a robot that is used to craft chairs from logs. The magazine reports that the robot is programmed to carve a simple design, and does so with almost no waste.

Based on what our BEST teams know about programming robots, we have no doubt that BEST students could carve a chair from a log, with a little help from a robotic friend.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Berry & Dunn Office Equipment is 2013 Sponsor!

Berry and Dunn Office Equipment became the first company to commit to being a sponsor of Northeast Alabama BEST for 2013. They were also an inaugural year sponsor in 2012.

Berry and Dunn is a locally-owned and operated one-stop office supply and equipment dealer, with locations in Rainsville, Fort Payne, and Scottsboro. 

Thanks to Berry and Dunn for their support of Northeast Alabama BEST Robotics!

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Pisgah Robotics in The Daily Sentinel

Scottsboro's The Daily Sentinel recently published an article about Pisgah's Robotics team. Congratulations to Coach Gus Hembree and mentor Wayne Cummins, for some excellent publicity and for progress toward a year-round robotics class!

You can read the article here: 

Friday, January 11, 2013

2013 BEST Robotics: Gatekeeper

2013 is here! In just a few short months BEST Robotics, Inc. will be releasing details of the 2013 game, called Gatekeeper. This game is being developed by Jubilee BEST, located in Mobile, Alabama. Check out the teaser video here.

In addition, Friends of BEST in Alabama will be providing educational content that will help prepare teams for BEST 2013. Please read the letter from Jubilee BEST below:

Greetings from Jubilee BEST in Mobile, Alabama!

We are honored and excited to develop the 2013 BEST game, “Gatekeeper”. The official teaser video is posted on and Once you watch the video, it will be obvious the 2013 game theme is technology…the “T” in BEST.

We recognize the world of technology changes rapidly; one of our goals as game developers is to encourage BEST teams to gain a greater understanding of the technology that surrounds them on a daily basis. We have created 18-weeks of educational fun that will kick-off Sunday, January 20th! Each week (Sunday evenings) a new topic will be posted on Robots, computers, cell phones, electricity, and manufacturing are only a few themes that will be explored.

Weekly activities will contain components for students to participate on their own or activities geared towards educators which can be incorporated into their classroom. Please note, this is not curriculum, it’s only resources and ideas to encourage “thinking”. Activities are well suited for bell ringers at the beginning of class, enrichment assignments, elective course activities, or after-school robotics clubs.

We will promote the 18-weeks of activities on the BEST Robotics Facebook page. Teams will be encouraged to post photos and videos of various activities throughout the spring. Become a Facebook fan and follow the fun!

As we all know, one of the exciting moments of BEST is seeing the highly secretive game field unveiled on Kick-Off Day! These resources will contain subtle hints of game components, but in no way will reveal the game. Our goal is to keep students engaged and using their critical thinking skills during the off-season. We do encourage the students to brainstorm and try to “guess” amongst themselves what the 2013 game components will be.