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Bench Talk for Design Engineers

Bench Talk

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Bench Talk for Design Engineers | The Official Blog of Mouser Electronics


High School Robotics and the FIRST Program Grant Imahara
Recently, I had the opportunity to accompany Mouser Electronics to the FIRST World Championships in St. Louis, MO. FIRST (which stands for “For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology”) is an international robotics competition for high school students. They spend six weeks designing and building a robot that will perform some task; like scooping up soccer balls and putting them into a goal. The game changes every year, so you always have to start from scratch.

FIRST: More Than Meets The Eye Erik Smith
The first robots I recall ever interacting with when I was young were Transformers. I suppose, if you were being REALLY generous, you could refer to them as semi-educational toys since each was a mini-puzzle that only kids younger than 13 could figure out. In fact, if I were this clever at 8-years-old, I might have convinced my parents to want to buy me more. But then, all I would have to show for it would be a box full of forgotten plastic robots that transformed into cars I could now sell on eBay. But there was a different group of transforming robots that I wish I had discovered in my high school days. Instead of buying them, you built them with a group of your peers. Instead of transforming into cars, they would transform your life.

Engineer's Week 2014 and the Next Generation of Engineers Erik Smith
It’s Engineer’s Week, and outside of celebrating by reading Col. Chris Hadfield’s new book, “An Astronaut’s Guide To Life On Earth”, I’m also doing some volunteer work, representing Mouser Electronics at the Fort Worth Museum of Science and History. We have both a display, showing kids various functioning LEDs, chips, speakers and a nifty little robot built from a Parallax kit, and a hands-on table showing young kids how to build their own homopolar motor. This fascination with how things work and being able to build it yourself is a common trait I’ve seen in engineers of all ages.

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