Saturday, September 28, 2013

Technical Training Day Photos Posted

We had a great group at Technical Training Day on Saturday. Be sure to check out photos from the day under the photo link on this site. Thanks to all who came out and especially to our instructors: 

  • Jordan Hilyer of GH Metal Solutions, who  did a great job with SolidWorks 
  • Dennis Lester of NACC who turned out some expert solderers
  • Deni Adkins, of NACC, who was asked at 8:05 this morning if she would fill in an lead the discussion in the Programming Users Group. Thanks to Mrs. Adkins for stepping up, filling in, and exemplifying the spirit of BEST. 

Friday, September 27, 2013

Preparing for Technical Training Day

Technical Training Day will take place on Saturday, September 28 in the Industrial Systems Techology Center at Northeast Alabama Community College. Classes will last from 8:00 am until noon, and will include the following topics:
  • Solidworks - We have a limited number of computers loaded with Solidworks available in our lab. If you can, bring a laptop loaded with Solidworks.
  • Soldering and Wire Connections - If you have one, bring a soldering iron and solder. If not, we will have some available for your use.
  • Programming Users Group - Bring a laptop loaded with your programming software (Easy C, Robot C, etc.)
Both Solidworks and Soldering will be instructor led. The Programming Users Group will be just that--a meeting of those who use programming software. It is expected that the more experienced users will help the beginners.

A large number of people have already registered in advance for Technical Training Day. If you have not yet done so, please register here:

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Clarification Regarding Robot Base

There were lots of questions on Kick Off Day regarding how you connect your robot to the trolley. The platform on the trolley is 23" x 15.75" While there was a good deal of discussion about making your robot base the exact same size, according to the Official BEST Question and Answer # 50:

The base of the robot does not need to be 23" x 15.75"; it simply must be able to attach to the base platform on both the left and right side. This should leave open numerous possibilities for shape and dimensions. We would not recommend extending beyond the platform, but this is permissible, as long as no other rules are broken in the process.

This reinforces the need to keep an eye on the Official BEST Q & A.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

The Clock is Ticking...BEST 2013 Has Begun!

We were excited to see everyone Saturday as we kicked off Gatekeeper 2013. Between 250 and 300 people attended the kick off of Northeast Alabama BEST Robotics  on the campus of Northeast Alabama Community College. After a  reveal of this year's theme, the hub offered a number of training sessions including both general sessions and breakout sessions.

Stevie B's pizza, was a hit for lunch and students enjoyed viewing the field as they began to concoct their plans for a robot that will build CPUs.

Dr. LaRonda Conley, representing the Missile Defense Agency STEM Outreach, was on hand to witness the kick off. Rick Roden, president and CEO of the Greater Jackson County Chamber of Commerce served as emcee and will continue as emcee for the 2013 BEST season.

The next event of the season is technical training day on September 28. Registration is open at

Thursday, September 19, 2013

42 Days of BEST Posted

The 42 Days of BEST document has been posted on the Team Resources section of this site. This weekly calendar will help guide teams as they navigate the BEST season.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Consumable Kits Ready for Saturday

As seen in these photos, the consumable kits are complete and stored in an undisclosed location until Saturday.

Looking forward to Kick Off. Hope to see you there!

Monday, September 16, 2013

Kits are Ready!

Northeast Alabama BEST Robotics volunteers recently enjoyed an afternoon of putting together consumable kits. The kits are ready for Kick Off Day on Saturday.

In the first photo (right), NACC employees: Bryon Miller (Job Placement Specialist), Judith Lea (Director of Technology Learning Center) and Kelly Black (Drafting & Design Instructor) work to count, bag and label small parts.

In the second photo, Julie George (NACC Skills Training Coordinator) and Dennis Lester (NACC Industrial Systems Technology instructor) cut wire for the kits.

The third photo shows Judith Lea, Shelia Shepard (Jackson County EDA) and Kelly Black sorting nuts and bolts.

And the fourth photo shows Nancy Griggs (NACC WorkKeys Coordinator) and Pam Clay (DeKalb County EDA) packaging some small electronic parts.

Friday, September 13, 2013

Technical Training Day Schedule Announced!

Northeast Alabama Community College has announced the schedule for its BEST Robotics Technical Training Day on Saturday, September 28, 2013.

Three classes will be offered:
  • Soldering and Electrical Connections
    • Learn how to make secure electrical connections
    • Bring a soldering iron if you have one. If not, come anyway.
  • Solidworks
    • Learn Solidworks from someone who uses it everyday in his job.
    • Bring your own computer with Solidworks installed or use ours
  • Programming Users Group
    • Are you a programming guru? Then come share your skills with others.
    • Need help getting started? Then come learn the ropes from others.
    • Bring your laptop with programming software loaded.
There is no cost to register, you must register online to secure your spot in the class. Register here:

Date:  Saturday, September 28, 2013
Time: 8:00 am until noon
Location: Industrial Systems Technology Center - Northeast Alabama Community College
Open to: Anyone
Cost: Free

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Northeast Alabama BEST Site Becoming More Popular

Our goal in creating a website is to provide relevant, timely information to BEST teams throughout the year. Naturally, of course, the advent of the BEST season brings increased traffic to the site. Through site statistics, we can see how many visits we have to the site each day, week, and month. And it has been interesting to see how many more visits we have seen to the site this year than last year at this time.

For instance, in the month of August we saw 3 times the number of page views than we saw in August last year. As the competition heats up you will see more and more posted to the site. Please be sure to check the site often for the latest updates. Who knows, you might even see your photo on the site after one of our events.

Look for a steady stream of game-related material to be released in the coming weeks.

Looking forward to Kick Off on September 21!

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Announcing BEST 2013 Teams

The following teams have registered for BEST Robotics 2013:
  • Bridgeport Middle School - Team 412
  • Brindlee Mountain Middle School - Team 411
  • Crossville High School - Team 413
  • DeKalb County Technology Center - Team 410
  • Fort Payne High School - Team 406
  • Fyffe High School - Team 408
  • Ider High School - Team 407
  • Marshall Technical School - Team 401
  • Pisgah High School - Team 404
  • Woodville High School - Team 403
We look forward to working with each of these teams, their coaches, and their mentors as they tackle //GATEKEEPER_2013//.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Kick Off Schedule Posted

Here it is! The Kick Off Schedule for BEST 2013 has been posted in the Team Resources site. A copy of the file is included below for your convenience.


 Kick Off Day

Location:   Tom Bevill Lyceum, Northeast Alabama Community College

8:30                Registration Open

(All teams should be registered and seated by 8:55 am)

8:45                Theatre Doors Open

9:00                Opening Session – Kick Off of 2013 BEST Robotics

9:45                General Session:

·         Game Explanation/Scoring – Nicole Carroll

·         Organizing Your Team – Nicole Carroll

·         42 Days of BEST – Mike Kennamer

·         BEST Award Rules and Scoring – Sherry Whitten

11:00              Lunch

 Location: Industrial Systems Technology Building, NACC Campus

12:00              Breakout Sessions 1

The Engineering Process
Deni Adkins
IS 105
Marketing Presentations
Whitney Clark
IS 106
Teacher’s Roundtable (for teachers not in field viewing)
Nicole Carroll
IS 109
Kit Orientation & Robot Compliance
Dennis Lester
IS 108
Field Viewing A
8 Teams (maximum 6 per team)
Chris Anderson
IS 110


1:00                Breakout Sessions 2

Project Engineering Notebook
Jessica Blalock
IS 105
Team Exhibit
Debby Wooten
IS 106
Teacher’s Roundtable (for teachers not in field viewing)
Nicole Carroll
IS 109
Kit Orientation & Robot Compliance
Dennis Lester
IS 108
Field Viewing B
8 Teams (maximum 6 per team)
Chris Anderson
IS 110


Monday, September 9, 2013

Northeast Alabama BEST Welcomes Crossville High School

We are pleased to announce that Crossville High School has registered a team for BEST Robotics 2013! We are pleased to have Jason Jackson on board as the newest BEST coach and look forward to working with him in this 2013 season.

Friday, September 6, 2013

Welcome to Bridgeport Middle School

Northeast Alabama BEST welcomes Bridgeport Middle School to the BEST Robotics family! We are excited that our second middle school is now on board for this year and look forward to working with Shannon McClain, Mr. Buckner and all the good people at Bridgeport Middle School.

We are looking forward to meeting you all on September 21!

Today is Deadline to Register for BEST 2013!

With Kick Off for BEST Robotics 2013 only a couple weeks away, today is the deadline to register a team for competition. Follow the link below to register, then follow up with an email to to confirm your registration.

Here is the link:

We are excited for the upcoming BEST season, which we are starting to call "the most exciting 42 days in school." Be a part of it!

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Going to School Via a Robot

The Sun Sentinel (serving Broward and Palm Beach Counties of Florida) tells the story of Kyle Weintraub, a 12-year-old seventh grader from Davie, Florida who is being treated for cancer at Children's Hospital in Philadelphia. It is expected that his treatment might last a year.

But Kyle is not missing school, thanks to a VGo robot that he controls remotely from Philadelphia and gives Kyle a real presence in his classroom. The robot, which cost $6,000 and about $1,200 a year in maintenance costs, allows Kyle's robot avatar to take him into his classes at the David Posnack Hebrew Day School some 1,200 miles away.

Here is a link to the article in the Sun Sentinel.

We wish Kyle all the BEST and congratulate the folks at VGo for giving Kyle a way to go to school this year.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Thanks to BEST Partners!

Northeast Alabama BEST Robotics hub is a partnership of a number of community organizations and businesses that is headquartered at Northeast Alabama Community College. While it is easy to count the contributions of organizations that write a check to support BEST, it is much more difficult to set a dollar amount for organizations that support BEST through allowing their employees to take time to volunteer and plan the events.

A number of employees from Northeast Alabama Community College are involved in year-round planning, coordination, and implementation of the BEST season. The committment provided by Dr. David Campbell, president of NACC, is tremendous and should be recognized as such.

Other community organizations provide volunteers to serve on the leadership team, which works year-round to assure that BEST is a success. These organizations include:
We appreciate all of our sponsors and community partners which make Northeast Alabama BEST possible!

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Kick Off Day Plans Announced!

Northeast Alabama BEST Robotics has announced plans for its Kick Off day. The event will take place in the Tom Bevill Lyceum on the campus of Northeast Alabama Community College. Registration will begin at 8:30 am. Doors to the theatre will open at 8:45. All teams should be registered and in their seats by 8:55 am.

At 9:00 am we will have the opening session and kick off, followed by a general session in the lyceum that will cover the following:
  • Game Explanation & Scoring
  • Organizing Your Team
  • 42 Days of BEST
  • BEST Award Rules & Scoring
Lunch will be provided for all participants.

Breakout sessions, which include field viewing and kit pick up will take place at 12:00 noon and 1:00 pm. We expect to be finished by 2:00 pm.

There is much to do in preparation for kick off day but we look forward to sharing another 42 days with all of our teams as we kick off GATEKEEER_2013!