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Help! My robot is out of control!

Posted by on Nov 3, 2016 in Frontpage-Banners, News | 0 comments

Eventually, we’ll have fully autonomous robots…programming the next generation of robots that will take over the world. But, for now, STEP robots need human control in order to dominate. Here’s another game changing element of STEP. We’re deploying cost-effective controllers which lets the average participant download and start programming at home. Yes, at home. For free. But, there are choices to make. Decisions, Decisions, Decisions… If you are using the VEX micro-controller, the decisions have been made for you. The USB Keys in the Cortex and Joystick facilitate a Wi-Fi link between the two. (They call it their VEXnet). The VEXnet based Joystick is very capable with two sticks, 4 “trigger” buttons, 8 face buttons, and even 2-axis accelerometer. It sells for around $150. Yikes! But, worse than the stiff cost is it’s inherent restriction to the Cortex micro-controller. The...

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STEP Kit and Part Procurement

Posted by on Oct 25, 2016 in Frontpage-Banners, News | 2 comments

So, you’ve seen the game challenge and have finished the conceptual design phase? Now, you need some details about the materials and parts available to build your awesome robot masterpiece. Before explaining the STEP Kit Policies and Procedures, you need to know a few things about real-world engineering. Mimicking Real-World Product Development First of all, one needs to realize that there is no such thing as an engineering challenge with unlimited budget. So, STEP teams will learn to work within one. Each team is allotted an budget for procuring parts from the STEP store. In 2016, this allotment is 750 STEP-bucks for items on the Return Parts list. The allotment is 250 STEP-bucks for items on the Consumable Parts list. When you invest some of your budget in a particular item or strategy, those funds are not available for other items or...

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Getting Started on Your STEP Robot(s)

Posted by on Oct 12, 2016 in Frontpage-Banners, News | 0 comments

STEP teams have lots of options. And, that means, STEP teams need to establish a way to make decisions as a team. We’ll have more on that later. The focus now is on how to pull a basic STEP robot together. STEP teams have the choice of basing their robot on either an Arduino open-source system or the VEX Cortex commercial system. The Arduino system is inexpensive and prolific. There are a gagillion helps, tutorials, and forums out there to get you past challenges. The VEX Cortex system is ridiculously expensive, but, it is hardened for some amount of rough treatment in robot competition. To make the decision even harder, STEP teams can deploy hybrid systems as well. If an individual wants to get into robotics and pay for things out of their own pocket, it is a no-brainer. Go...

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Best Kickoff EVER!

Posted by on Oct 3, 2016 in Frontpage-Banners, News | 0 comments

Nice turnout, people! Way to get the word out coaches! Many of us were really looking forward to ArcAttack helping us kickoff the season. And, they sure did deliver. Dr. Wienen opened up with grateful accolades for faithful program sponsors Capsher, KBSI, and Hydraulic Works. They are a big part of why Brazos Robotics continues to expand programming and impact. He then challenged kids to look more sincerely at Science, Technology, Engineering, and Programming as career options. “We are all natural born scientists…it actually takes a lot of discipline to get kids to abandon their natural tendency to explore.” Regarding engineering, “life will always present new problems, we need creative problem solvers.” Regarding programmers, “if you really want to influence our future, influence what happens during screen time.” There were many young ears in the audience. Who knows what seeds...

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ArcAttack is Coming to Kickoff

Posted by on Sep 21, 2016 in News | 0 comments

Science meets Performing Art! ArcAttack is the epitome of Awesome. They’ll be helping us kickoff our STEP Robotics season. Do you have your tickets yet? Oct 3rd at Rudder Theater 6:30-8pm Tickets available through STEP coaches and MEU host schools and Mentors & Makers ArcAttack brings science to center stage. Electrons never looked and sounded more alive. 500,000 VOLTS!!! Certainly the worlds “most dangerous rock band.” And, they are all yours for an evening. This amazing show will be followed by a pull-back-the-curtain Q&A and talkback session. The creators answering your questions regarding the science behind the show. Come learn more about Brazos Robotics. Come witness a performance and science spectacle. Come launch your team into the inaugural STEP Robotics season. Want to know more about the ArcAttack science? Check out what Physics Girl found out. Follow us on Facebook to find out...

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STEP has Swarm Robots

Posted by on Sep 18, 2016 in News | 0 comments

This is a REALLY Big Deal! Big Deal in the Future of Robotics Big Deal in Creative Options Big Deal in Impact and Access The Future… What is a robot swarm? It’s simply a collection of robots cooperating to accomplish a task. A swarm works together to do more than any individual could do by itself. However, the end capability isn’t capped by the “sum” of the individual robot capabilities. Synergy is possible in a robot swarm. Working together, the swarm can accomplish tasks that are completely beyond the design parameters of the individual robot! Ex. swarm capability equals sum of individuals Ex. swarm synergy The field of robotics is advancing on many fronts. The more popular fronts right now include humanoid robots and military applications. However, the swarm model is the bleeding edge of robotics research. Swarm is the next huge...

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