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FIRST Looks

Angel from FRC 6527, Short SirKit

2018-06-20

One of the things that makes a [FIRST] team succeed is the ability to pass knowledge on from season to season. Under normal circumstances, a team expects to rotate members out every year, with a healthy portion staying and some graduating, to be replaced by freshman. Some seasons, however, a larger portion of the team graduates than others, leaving a lot of rookie members. That is what [FRC] 6527, Short SirKit experienced this season. A large portion of their team were rookies (around 15), though about 5 veteran members remained, including Angel (a 2-year member), who spoke with Daniele and Marissa at the Orlando Regional. It meant that the veteran members all had to take on more of a mentoring role for the new students. Despite the higher number of rookie members, the team was doing well on the field; even better than last season. Angel acts as a machinist on his team, working with tools like bandsaws, drill presses and a CNC machine, to produce the body and appendages for the robot. He finds the experience of [FIRST] to be fun, and he appreciates working with his team. Before joining the team he wasn't experienced with the tools he uses, and owes his knowledge to his 2 seasons with Short SirKit. This team works differently from many other teams, as the team exists as part of a manufacturing class and a robotics class in school, which he heard about from his mother. After enrolling in the class, he was inspired to go into machining as a career after high school. Because the team is run as a class, it means that activities are graded, but there is not as much time for the social aspects of [FIRST]. [firstlooks2018sponsor]

FIRST Looks

An Inspiring Chat with Change Maker, Terri Willingham

2018-06-20

So it's no secret to say that the Orlando Regional Competition is one of our favorites. And one of the best parts of our coverage is when Terri Willingham stops by for a chat. Terri was formerly a Regional Director with [FIRST]. She loved organizing these events and working closely with the teams as they navigated their way through the robotics program. Her new position, as Director of the Foundation for Community Driven Innovation ([url=http://ffcdi.org]FCDI[/url]), is her most rewarding role yet. Terri and her husband Steve are now able to take all of the knowledge gained with [FIRST] a step further with the foundation and AMRoC (Advanced Manufacturing and Robotics Center). They are in the process of building out this manufacturing and robotics center that will be home to a permanent [FRC] field, as well as an [FTC] field and a couple of [FLL] tables. It will give students a place to come to be creative, build their robots and then test and practice. The dream is to have the makerspace easily accessible with all of the tools available for building and repairs. Everything started to come together about a year ago when Terri applied for an Argosy Foundation Grant. The application of these funds, as well as other donations, have been disbursed directly to local community groups and programs, such as Robotics Tampa Bay and [FIRST] teams. It's tough to make real changes when trying to tackle challenges as a national level. She now realizes that by concentrating her efforts hyper-locally, it is easier to leverage community engagement. Thus putting money, manufacturing and jobs in the community. The philosophy is basically that we can change the world in our own back yards and then scale it up from there. At the local level, you can apply a thousand dollars and see actually the impact it creates. Make sure to watch our interview with Terri and learn more about all of her exciting upcoming ventures. Then stay tuned to watch them grow and even join in the efforts by volunteering along with all of us. [firstlooks2018sponsor]

PLuGHiTz Live Special Events

Exposing an Amazing and Energetic Literary Scene

2018-06-07

As part of the maker and journalistic communities, it was wonderful for us to get to know Tiffany Razzano, founder of Wordier Than Thou. We had a chance to chat with her for a few minutes before the show, at her simple, book filled table here at Gulf Coast Maker & Comic Con. We started off with a curiosity of the meaning of their name that turned into total excitement for what they do. [url=http://wordierthanthou.com]Wordier Than Thou[/url] is a local nonprofit for the literary arts in the Tampa Bay area. They organize various readings and events for local authors to come out and get some exposure. It all came about five years ago because Tiffany, a journalist by trade, recognized that one of the things she hated the most was public speaking. Since this was something that she would periodically encounter in her career, she decided to do conquer it head on. She accomplished this by doing something where she could overcome this hatred in a more controlled environment - storytelling. They started out simply, with just one event where authors could tell stories and prose in an open mic style. It has since grown significantly and they are now doing 8 to 12 events per month that tap into different parts of the literary community. It has become a great support system for the authors to showcase their work and also to draw in people who wouldn't normally attend this kind of event. They actually strive to "sneak the books" into their events where some audience members are surprised that they just loved a show that ended up being about books. For example, one of their most successful events is a burlesque show with wonderful performers and amazing costumes that they put on twice a year. During the interview, Tiffany introduced an upcoming event called Eat Our Words that Scott and Michele actually attended. The authors made various dished that were inspired by their books. It was a fun way to interact with the authors and learn about their latest works while sampling some really good food. We look forward to attending some of their future events, as well. You can check them out yourself by going to their [url=http://wordierthanthou.com]website[/url], or by visiting their Facebook [url=http://facebook.com/wordierthanthou]page[/url]. [gcmcc2018sponsor]

PLuGHiTz Live Special Events

Tangible Labs Has All The Nerdy Swag That You May Need

2018-06-07

A long-time guest and friend of the show and the founder of [url= https://tangiblelabs.com/]Tangible Labs[/url], Mo Eppley stopped by to show us the new additions to their stock. Tangible Labs is a 3D printing and prototyping company that also does client-based work. Mo and her husband are huge fans of the Harry Potter stories and their new Wizarding Wonder's Collection for is inspired by Universal Studio's Harry Potter World. This exciting collection includes eight 3D printed wands, a 3D printed golden snitch, and wizard identification cards/licenses. Each 3D printed item was assembled from multiple prints and painted in acrylic to resemble the look and feel of the wands and snitches in the movie. The IDs and licenses are targeted for any cosplayer to be "certified" in Quidditch, be "permitted" to conceal a wand, or be an official Hogwarts student of faculty. Tangible Labs also focus their time and dedication to their work on Nerd Swag that will suit nerds of all interests. Mo has realized that you can't find certain fandoms and designs on the internet so Tangible Labs design their own original T-shirts with unique nerdy passions. You can purchase these items and learn more about Mo's work at the Tangible Labs website. You can also follow their work on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter under the handle: @tangiblelabs. [gcmcc2018sponsor]

FIRST Looks

The Force was Definitely with Joao from FRC 5557, BB-R8ERS

2018-06-07

Who doesn't love it when a Jedi stops by for a chat? Well, we might enjoy it a little more than your average interviewers, but that's okay. It was great to get to know Joao with [FRC] 5557, BB-R8ERS. Once again it was so refreshing to see how excited and motivated a 1st year team member can be. He is a freshman in high school and this his initial exposure to [FIRST]. When he was looking into which high school he wanted to attend, he chose his current school because of the tech classes offered and the robotics program. He thought it would be a great opportunity to learn a lot and also have a lot of fun. Joao started off on the electrical team at the beginning of the season and then moved over to the business side. He even presented the Chairman's Award here at the competition. His goals for the future are to get back involved on the electrical team and hopefully become a lead, while still helping out in business. While we were talking with him about how the team was doing at the competition this year, they were actually currently on the field competing behind us. It was fun to look back and see them in action with all of their teammates cheering them on, light sabers in hand. Many were in costume and you could feel the team spirit all the way up to our booth. There are currently about 35 members on the robotics team. They start out as Padawans when they are rookies and build their way to being lead and mentor Jedi Masters. One thing Joao loves is how even though this is a technical field, it has the feeling of a large sporting event. That is something that we at [FIRSTLooks] also really enjoy. And if you are looking to also get inspired by [FIRST], this is the interview that you are looking for. Check it out and let us know what you think. [firstlooks2018sponsor]

PLuGHiTz Live Special Events

FIRST Team Learns From Past Mistakes with the Help of FIRST Alumni

2018-06-06

[FIRST] Robotics is a very important organization that brings more and more educated students into the workforce with robotics experience that will propel them into the future. Once these students graduate from high school, they are encouraged to join the [FIRST] Alumni Association to stay involved in [FIRST] and to help students just like them. Alumni volunteer their time and prior experience to encourage the next generation of great minds as well as push the bar up for robotics around the world. Vishal Vellody is a perfect [FIRST] alumni example. He was apart of [FRC] 5276 Edgar Allan Ohms as a vital part of the mechanical team for three and a half years. After graduating, he realized that he can apply what he learned on the team and work with the current students to help them learn like he did. Vishal made it his mission to ensure his team learned from the team's past mistakes so that they can evolve robotics. Now, he has volunteered a year of his time and he loves it. Vishal is a current intern at the Pasco County Library in Land O' Lakes where the Edgar Allan Ohms meets. The space is free to the community to work on projects and teaches anyone numerous skills. Vishal's job is to work with visitors to make sure they have tools and help they need to complete their own projects. [gcmcc2018sponsor]

PLuGHiTz Live Special Events

Blossoms of the Heart Brings Imagination to Life

2018-06-06

3D printing is an art in itself but local artist with [url=http://blossomsoftheheart.com/]Blossoms of the Heart[/url], Christine Samad and her husband have brought it to the next level. Christine is a very creative individual that has a passion for creating plot lines with characters and props that she designs. With the plot idea in mind, her and her husband bring them to life using one of their four personal 3D printers, but it doesn't stop there. With the 3D figure physically in front of her, Christine then paints over them to establish her original imagination of her creation. Blossoms of the Heart came to Gulf Coast Maker & Comic Con to show off just what they can do and discuss their passion with buyers and other makers. Christine's creative inspiration comes from her 2nd grade classroom, as she is a teacher on the side. She has found that her stories bring joy to the kids and that's where it all started. As well as her art, she has also self-published a few children's books on Amazon. You can go to the Blossoms of the Heart website to view some of Christine's creations and for links to purchase some for yourself. You can also find them on Facebook: @Blossomsoftheheart. [gcmcc2018sponsor]

PLuGHiTz Live Special Events

Epic Behind The Scenes Advancements in Animation Tech

2018-06-05

There are many people behind some of your favorite movies and video games that make the whole project possible and we had the honor of discussing major future technological changes with one of them. [url=http://tony3d.com/]Tony Mecca[/url] is a well-known animator that has his mark in popular films like X-Men: Days of Future Past, Hotel Transylvania 2, Rio 2, and much, much more. He has worked with so many studios and movies within a span of 15 years since he started out in his animation career and is currently working with EA in the cinematics division. Tony is a very special guest this year at Gulf Coast Maker & Comic Con 2018 while leading his talk titled, "How to Break into The Future Film Industry." He moved to Florida for some of his current projects while the cinematic presence in the Florida area is increasing. This growing presence is a vital step in the advancements in technology all of us are eager to be brought to entertainment. Mecca explains revolutionary ideas that are in the works behind the scenes for what is to come. If you are interested in learning more about Tony Mecca and the work he is apart of, you can visit his [url=http://tony3d.com/]website[/url]. [gcmcc2018sponsor]

PLuGHiTz Live Special Events

It's All About The Stitches With This Fantastic Maker

2018-06-05

Any maker can agree that a most of their work takes a lot of time, dedication, and experience to their craft. Deborah Gibson demonstrates this type of dedication in her company, [url=http://allaboutthestitches.vpweb.com/]All About The Stitches[/url] and the name says it all. Her work includes mostly any stitch you can think of: crotchet, knitting, embroidering, cross stitching, sewing, and more. Deborah's passion all started when she was 14 years old when her grandmother passed down the skill of working with fabric. Ever since then, she has been growing her craft and skill with as much as she can learn while making memorable items for friends and family. Her family has always encouraged her to create and 7 years ago, her kids explained how she needed to establish herself through her own company where she can sell and share her amazing work with others. After gathering feedback from many different events and conventions, All About The Stitches is looking to expand their work even further by teaching the skills that Deborah has spent years acquiring. You can stay connected with her through the All About The Stitches [url=http://allaboutthestitches.vpweb.com/]website[/url] for more information about the classes as well as the other services they offer. [gcmcc2018sponsor]

FIRST Looks

Danielle from FRC 6404, Brazilian Storm

2018-06-05

One of our favorite things to do here at [FIRST] Looks is to get to know the teams from other countries. It always fun to connect with them both culturally and professionally. And it's wonderful to find that they have just as much passion and enthusiasm about [FIRST] as we do here in this country. It was great to get to know Danielle from FRC 6404, Brazilian Storm. She is a sophomore at her high school in Brazil and was previously on an [FLL] team for four years. This is her 1st year on this [FRC] team and the transition to the larger robots was a little scary at first. This is also her first time coming to the United States. She's having a blast here at the Orlando Regionals. Her favorite thing is seeing the passion from the students here and watching all of the robots at work. The team was faring well at the competition, even with a couple of early setbacks. They had a couple of issues in transit with a couple of their Visa's and some lost luggage. Also, they had to ship their robot in multiple packages due to size and weight restrictions and then rebuild it first thing when they got here. They are such a strong and resilient team and didn't let anything hold them back from enjoying the competition. The [FIRSTLooks] control room also had fun chatting with her fellow teammates behind the scenes. [firstlooks2018sponsor]

FIRST Looks

Sydney from FRC 3932, Dirty Mechanics

2018-06-05

We've had the chance to interview numerous [FIRST] students over the last few years, each with varying degrees of experience on their team. Sydney with FRC 3932, Dirty Mechanics, has been on the team for 5 years. She's had a chance to be involved in just about every aspect in the process. She started out on the build team and through the years has moved more into the business side of things. Her current position is BME Team Leader. She is in charge of Business, Marketing and Entrepreneurship, which covers all of the awards presentations, essays, leadership and team outreach. Sydney has been to the Orlando Regional Competition for 4 out of her 5 years on the team. She loves this huge, open and fun event. It's like being at a major sporting event rather than at a robotics competition. And her team usually does well at the competition. Of course there are different challenges that occur with the robot, most often with things like timing. But the team is proud that they always work together and get everything on track in time to compete. She is loving her final season on the team and just enjoying everything. It's a good feeling to be a senior member and assist the team from that perspective. And as this is her senior year in high school, she is grateful to be getting expert assistance with her college applications and has gotten great letters of recommendation from her robotics mentors. And even though she's not quite sure exactly what direction she will go as far as her major is concerned, she's not worried at all because she is bringing along all of the confidence that [FIRST] has instilled in her. She knows that she still has some time to decide on the perfect career. She is also already looking forward to continuing on as a volunteer/mentor in the future. [firstlooks2018sponsor]

FIRST Looks

Robots, Technology and Beyond with the Legendary Woodie Flowers

2018-06-01

This year celebrated the 20th Anniversary of the Orlando Regionals and we had the distinct pleasure of speaking with Woodie Flowers, who was in attendance to mark the occasion. Woodie, an emeritus professor of mechanical engineering at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, has a distinguished résumé with an impressive list of honors and achievements. In our circles, however, he is best known as being the co-founder of [FRC], along with Dean Kamen in 1992. It was Woodie who coined the phrase and environment of Gracious Professionalism, which is truly a cornerstone value in this amazing organization. It was great to get his perspective on how [FIRST] has evolved over the years and the direction for the future. We've come from simplistic beginnings of having the robots decipher colors to using vision technology with the use of cameras that take the robots capabilities to the next level. But it doesn't stop with how advanced the robots get. There's a lot more to it. There's a responsibility that comes with such rapidly advancing technology because although it's wonderful to have all of these new capabilities at our fingertips, there are always those out there who will use the progress for nefarious purposes. The fact that [FIRST] has already built in a culture of honesty, graciousness and truth seeking gives these students a tremendous edge for facing such obstacles in the future. The kids are also given the understanding that although they have the advantage of likely being very successful in their future careers, they also need to teach others along the way. Make sure to watch this insightful interview with Woodie. He has a special way of understanding and appreciating the advancements in the world of technology and seeing beyond to how it can impact society as a whole. His favorite part of this journey with [FIRST] is the underlying philosophy of what they do. [firstlooks2018sponsor]

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