A couple of weeks ago, we took educational field trips to both Smiths Detection in Danbury CT, and Nexus Design in Oxford CT.
At Smiths, we were able to learn about materials identification, and we were able to solve the problem of why we were unable to solvent bond two types of plastic together which we thought were the same type. Using a spectrometer, we were able to determine that they were in fact two different types of plastic, and that they would not solvent bond.
We also gave a demo for Smith's Employees and their children, in order to raise awareness about who they were sponsoring, and for the children what FIRST is all about.
At Nexus, we learned about the process of Industrial design, and how to implement it alongside Engineering. We learned that Industrial design is a balancing act between the aesthetic aspects of design, and the practical aspects of engineering. We also worked with the general manager and Designer, John Laverack, to design and laser cut acrylic panels for our robot.
Overall, we learned a lot about how to make our robot better in the future, and what strategies we could use to make it look nicer. We also got a sneak peek into the world of robotics when we get out of the FIRST program, through Matt Dedonato, a FIRST Robotics Competition graduate, who is currently working to complete the DARPA Robotics challenge. He is working with Atlas humanoid robots to complete challenges. His team has already advanced through two different levels of the competition, and is well on their way to winning the 2 million dollar prize at the end.
We would like to thank Smiths, Nexus and Matt for a great couple of days!!