Editors note: A huge thank you goes out to Alyssa Muttillo, Julie Schiffer, and Ana Maria Vargas, as well as their teacher, Gretchen Santo from the Beaumont School for traveling to Chicago to demonstrate their robot for IMTS Student Smartforce Summit visitors, AND for writing this great recap of their experience! Additional thanks goes to Craig Brannon and the student builders of UC3 at North High School in North St. Paul, MN for lending us their robot for demonstrations the rest of the week. All of your contributions made our week at the Student SmartForce Summit a great success!
Beaumont School’s varsity robotics team traveled to Chicago, Illinois to display and demonstrate their robot at the International Manufacturing Technology Summit (IMTS) and the SmartForce Summit. We were invited by Maureen Carruthers of the National Robotics League to this biannual conference that showcases the latest technological advances in the field of manufacturing. Companies from around the world exhibited their newest products and processes. Operating in conjunction with professionals, SmartForce Student Summit exposed students of all ages to potential STEM careers in manufacturing.
After we arrived at McCormick Place, we were amazed by all that we saw. We were gratified to recognize technologies that we had used before, as well as intrigued by new and innovative machinery. Maureen enthusiastically greeted us at the National Robotics League booth. We quickly situated our equipment and took a few minutes to explore what the summit had to offer. Walking from booth to booth, we talked to students and professionals from different organizations. One student from Northern Illinois University explained the unique structure of his autonomous robot’s wheels which allowed it to move precisely in any direction. As we explored the FIRST Robotics station, a female reporter asked to take our photo to represent the “girl power” present at the summit.
We returned to the NRL booth to begin a demonstration of our robot. We plugged in our newly charged battery, replaced screws, and set Alexander the Great into the safety cage. The sound of our weapon in action attracted a large crowd. We answered their questions and encouraged them to learn more about combat robotics and the NRL.
Ultimately, we had a memorable day. We noticed that the vast majority of the participants were male. Despite this fact, we felt no hesitation in exploring and engaging in all activities. Today, we were definitely in the minority. Perhaps, in a few years, this will no longer be the case.
Highlights of the day:
- Viewed the zero-emission 3D printed car that is being printed over the course of the Summit
- Learned MasterCam’s more advanced features, such as a sprocket -rendering application
- Earned an official FIRST Robotics robot driver’s license
- Controlled a robot that was designed to retrieve and launch a ball
- Saw one of the first all-electric cars which was built in Cleveland, Ohio in 1908
- Sat behind the wheel of a 2015 Corvette
- Climbed into the Carbiliner vehicle, a jet-propelled car
- Briefly visited Millennium Park and the famous “Bean” sculpture Cloud Gate
Photo Highlights included below: