Sunday, December 05, 2010

Robot Parade

There is a school. And the school has a robotics club. And the robotics club needed a place where they could build a float for a Holiday Parade. And since we have space, and we love robots, and we love robotics club members, and we love making things!! we said: Okay. Come on over! Let's build a float together. A Robot Float!

And so, what started innocently enough, soon became a total immersion project for our family, for our neighbors, for 2102 Team Paradox!

The results? Team work, engineering, innovation, cooperation, fun, many late nights, lots of food and hot cider, glitter, power tools, parts, parts, parts, and faith. Oh yes, and a fully functioning, rising, grabbing robotic arm!

Celebrating light and service through community outreach, and promoting the values and mission of FIRST,
I am proud to present Lavender, a 2102 Team Paradox Robotic Float and her debut at the Holiday Parade!

FIRST Vision:
"To transform our culture by creating a world where science and technology are celebrated and where young people dream of becoming science and technology leaders." ~Dean Kamen, Founder

Alex and James, prepared to keep Lavender operating smoothly.

FIRST Mission:
Our mission is to inspire young people to be science and technology leaders, by engaging them in exciting mentor-based programs that build science, engineering and technology skills, that inspire innovation, and that foster well-rounded life capabilities including self-confidence, communication, and leadership.

Suki, team marketing president, gets the float registered. We arrived early to hold our place in the parade line-up. Then we waited for team members to arrive...

...and arrive they did! Meet the new faces of 2102 Team Paradox. Say *hi* to old friends!

Hey! Gabe's got the new team shirt! Lucky.

Wayne and Nate, pulled up with Lavender, and the build team got busy with lighting and hooking up the controller.

Wired, and accessorized in photoluminescent paint, Lavender, is ready to shine!

Alex, James, and Eli getting everything ready for the ride. They were in Wayne's truck for the parade, handling Lavender's arm motions, the lights, and music.

Grant made the generous offer to be our robotics' mascot, and he did an amazing job! He led the float and made community outreach a verb, with robot hugs and high-fives!

Robot-Erika! Robot-Lon! Robot love for everyone! Marketing members are experts with cardboard and duct tape!

Team Paradox president, Nathan, and Alex doing checks, making adjustments.

The sun goes down. Everybody is getting ready!

Robotics is a team sport, and every team has leaders. The float was built by many, but I would like to make special mention of some core team players: Suki, Eli, James, Alex, and William. Grant gets special mention for the blood he donated as the robotics's mascot. These were the members that gave extra much from the start, in the middle, and to the very end.

Team Paradox has great mentors. Please excuse any perceived bias, but trust me: Great Mentors.

Great mentors are the best.
Sandy and Myron, Bobbie and Darrahl!

Applause! Another special mention: Maria is a mini-Paradox. She recruits for the team on the school playground. She serves food at float build sessions. She is learning tools, designing robots, and all in all is simply a spirited robotics fan. This may have been her first parade, but it is definitely not going to be her last!

James, Suki, Alex, Eli, Grant and Chris. And, of course, Lavender.

This awesome robo-suit is the creation of CJ, and first appeared in Las Vegas, at FRC. CJ, this thing is too cool, and with Grant at the controls, it was an awesome outreach tool.

Maria drew a robotic arm, and William cut it out for her. She wanted all the technical touches for her float.

Meet Sam. This guy is proof that 2102 Team Paradox has a bright future. Working on this float was his very first robotics activity, and he showed awesome skills and dedication. Sam, you are so totally Paradox!

It was wonderful seeing everyone, and sharing the success and geektastic joy of seeing the first ever 2102 Team Paradox Holiday Parade entry. Thank you mentors, Sandy and Darrahl.

Coming soon! A re-cap of the robot build.
Lavender's arm moves up and down, and her claw opens and closes. It was amazing to see it come to this point. The journey!

Maria and Olivia. Two spirited Paradoxians.

William, Alex, and Max. They give a lot for robotics.

The float is built, the parade is over...
These four are in the kitchen making pancakes, while I edit and format photographs, and write this post, and they are discussing what's next for Lavender, for next year!

Speechless joy, unending pride...

Makes you want to dance in the street!

Dream it. Design it. Build it. Work it. Make. Tinker. Play!

Play like a robot, and put your heart in it! Right, Erika?

This is so funny... the parade hasn't even begun. We had as much, or more fun, waiting in line, cheering for passersby, and just being plain spirited!

Was it the low light, or me too excited to hold steady? No matter, these blurry images capture the energy of a great event.

These blurry images capture the energy of a great event, and all the kookiness of our wonderful community.

I really hope someone with a steadier hand got this shot!

As spirited as ever, as full of gracious professionalism as Dean Kamen could hope for, as loveable as ever! 2102 was up and cheering for every float and marcher, heading out to the parade route.

The parade may have been on the highway, but the fun began on Second Street!

On Second Street there were robots dancing!

And the Shuffle!

Yeah, that's right: Kool for school.

Number 71?! We're up?! Wayne is ready to roll!

Places everyone! Suki takes command and gets everyone in order.

Check lights. Activate fog machine.
Go Lavender!
For science!
For engineering!
For math!
For art!
For music!
For community outreach and service!
For robotics!

We're rollin'!

Cheering and sharing 2102 Team Paradox Spirit and Inspiration!

This was a triumph.

Go Robotics!


Anna Banana said...

awesome job, team! wish I could have been there.

ArtyZen said...

Wow - what a parade, what a day, what a culmination of achievement! Well done you all - and a lovely photo of the whole family! Ax

judy in ky said...

Awe-inspiring! Hard work and fun, innovation, creativity, teamwork, learning... it's all there. I love it.

CarrieMarie said...

oh, amazing! and i think you did a really good job capturing the great moments of the parade!!

Jennifer said...

Outstanding! So much hard work and fun and spirit and joy!!!

Natalie, the Chickenblogger said...

Ah, thank you!
it makes me so happy when people take time to appreciate these kids and their super work. The whole night was a great celebration for us. It is a pleasure for me to share the fun, and to spread the word about what an awesome generation of students is out there looking for opportunities to use their skills!

mtnchild said...

... and a fun time was had by all!! Just love your post about the kids. We need more parents like you and Jeff so the world will be a better place.

Your pictures made me dizzy thought! LOL

Random said...

Oh, man, I really see what you mean about geeks not standing out! It's awesome that your school (and community?) are so involved in this stuff. And it looks like it was a great party, too.
(Side note: hey, I was on my high school's FIRST team, too!)
(Side note again: there's an Aperture Science logo on your robot! Yay!)

Natalie, the Chickenblogger said...

Hello Yvette! Sorry about the dizzy. Maybe I need a tripod!

Welcome, Random! Once FIRST, always FIRST! My husband and I are mentors. What was (is) your team number?
You noticed, and understood! Now you can have the cake, so delicious and moist.

Random said...

Do you know, I can't for the life of me find out what our team number was. I tried to look it up, but it would appear that the Canada FIRST website isn't as well-equipped to do that sort of thing as the American one. It's super-cool that you guys are mentors, though - I wish I could find time and a way to get re-involved.

But you know, I've heard... rumours... about that cake you promised me.
They were not promising rumours.

Natalie, the Chickenblogger said...

Canadian! Super.
Team Paradox made it to the championships in Atlanta this year, and a lot of FRC finalists and award winners were from Canada, and Ontario particularly. I was especially excited about this because my step-father hails from there!
Look at us till talking when there's science to do!

Natalie, the Chickenblogger said...

I would like to add an *s* to my *till*