Saturday, April 25, 2015

FIRST Robotics 2016—Innovation Faire

It’s been two long days of commuting to St. Louis for the annual FIRST Championships.  Let me just say that they have EXPLODED in size this year, so much so that they couldn’t be contained in the convention center and the domed stadium.  They’ve now had to move the FTC and JrFLL competitions to Union Station and the exhibitors and college recruiters to the ballroom of a nearby hotel.  Three venues—three posts.  Today I’m going to focus on the smallest of the three—but also one of the funnest for spectators & visitors.  Here are some photos of the Innovation Faire.

For all the technology of the event, sometimes you just need to go old school and play with Legos.  Here the teams were able to “graffiti” a Lego tower by adding their team numbers with the colorful bricks.

Slightly more advanced (and an homage to Hugo Cabret), this Lego creation could draw images based on scanned photos.

I just know someone seeing this is going to run out and add hand drills to their own Foosball table.  It reminds me of the time my own Toolman tried to rev’ up the manual ice cream maker with a high speed drill (just think what always happened on Home Improvement when Tim the Toolman added more power).

The sand formed patterns based on the vibrations from the frequency of the machine.  In the background, kids were able to skewer balloons without popping them.

Talk about money to burn…only this dollar didn’t burn.  It had to do with the liquid it had been soaking in—isopropyl alcohol was one ingredient.  I remember there was something else to make the flames visible. 

This was one of the more popular stations because it involved FOOD!  These gals were making strawberry ice cream with liquid nitrogen.  Another chef was making Dragon’s Breath (which we sampled last year).  The fellow with his back to me was flash freezing balloons and flowers for the kids to shatter with hammers.

Later this week I’ll share about the FRC robots.

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