March 6, 2014 – Meeting Roundup
When I was a teenager I became an avid reader of science fiction. Heinlein, Clarke, Bradbury, I read them all. But probably my favorite was Isaac Asimov, who wrote I, Robot and subsequent books that centered around robots and the three laws of robotics.
The world has not gotten to the time of robotics yet, but it is getting much closer. We have robots assembling cars and vacuuming our homes. Robotic lawn mowers can mow our lawns. We don’t have robot maids like in the “Jetsons,” but it probably isn’t that far into the distant future that they will exist.
A group of gamer nerds (their self-description) at James Rumsey are working on projects to make robots more of a reality. In the process, they managed to win the state robotics championship and are headed to the VEX Robotics World Championship in Anaheim, CA. The team’s success in the state competition, which also included winning the robot skills award, comes in the second year of the Eastern Panhandle technical school’s robotics program.
Built primarily with steel and plastic parts, the team’s robot currently weighs about 16 pounds and fits into a 18-inch-by-18-inch-by-18-inch box. Six motors mounted on the machine are powered by two, 7.2-volt batteries, and a 9-volt battery serves as a backup. Multiple rubber bands on each side of the machine help raise the lift arm. Part of the state competition involved using the robot in a game that required the robot’s lift arm to stash red or blue plastic spherical “buckyballs” in tall plastic tubes mounted on a 12-foot-by-12-foot playing field. Parrill, one of two programmers on the team, said part of the challenge is programming the “mother board” on the robot to make it go. Development of computer programming language also is needed for the machine to operate autonomously for 15 seconds of two-minute matches. The initial 15-second period was followed by one minute and 45 seconds of remote-controlled play of the game. The object of the game was to attain a higher score by moving red and blue buckyballs and larger round plastic balls into different zones and goals on the rubber foam playing field.
This week we will meet Zack Hahn, Jared Parrill, Zach Mackinder, Daniel Rohrbaugh and Tristan Simons, the members of the “Penta Package” and learn more about their quest to go to the national championship.
Who knows? Maybe they’ll come up with a plan to replace bankers and lawyers.
Our Future Leaders
Our second treat was meeting the officers of the newly formed Interact club at Spring Mills High School. Faculty advisor Jessica Salfia was a familiar face because she was faculty advisor for Interact at Musselman High School last year. The four girls who were the officers gave brief biographies that prompted President Mike to give the club a check for $1,000 from our club.
Answer to last week’s question:
President-Elect Training Seminar (PETS) is a training and informational program for club president elect, planned and organized by the district governor-nominee in cooperation with the district governor. The main purpose is to help implement the Rotary International theme for the forthcoming year and to motivate incoming presidents in leadership roles in club, district and RI activities. It is now compulsory for all president-elects to attend.
This week’s question:
What is a district assembly?
We had two visiting Rotarians—Matt Hurley from the Waynesboro club; and Mike Custer from the Kearney Dawd club in Kearney, Nebraska.
Jay Lawyer, an associate with Hurley Auctions, was a guest of visiting Rotarian Matt Hurley. Visiting Rotarian Mike Custer brought his wife Charlotte. Joanne Young was back as a guest of her husband, Roy. Chris Johnson brought Tom Geiermann who works for Apple Valley Office Products. Sarah Hunter, an attorney working for Heather Myers, was back as a guest of Heather.
Chris Knight still needs greeters. You can email him at [email protected] or you can tell him in person that you are willing to volunteer.
The 29th annual Community Wellness Screening will be April 12th from 6am to 10am at the Dorothy McCormack Center. The cost is a bargain at $40 and the men can get an optional PSA test for $35. Call 304-264-1232 for questions or to register. Fred Hollida has chaired the committee for this event for several years, but has to step down because it is at the height of tax season. We now need a new chair. Let President Mike know if you would like to chair this event. Our club receives $1,500 for organizing the volunteers for the event.
Judges are needed for the social studies fair on Saturday. Contact Mike Hornby to volunteer.
Mock interviewers are needed 3/11 at Musselman High; 3/27 at Spring Mills High; and 4/10 at Martinsburg High. Contact Tina Combs if you can participate.
Art Thomm won the job of selling 50/50 tickets. The pot is now over $500 with only 20 cards remaining. You have a 5% chance of winning.