Cerebral palsy has left California resident Danny Cope in a powered wheelchair. There is a trail running out back behind his house. Due to the limitations of his wheelchair, he never had the opportunity to take that trail. Thanks to the work of a group of students, he can now get off the pavement and onto more rugged terrain.
The students are part of LASA Robotics, the robotics team at the Liberal Arts and Science Academy, a high school in Austin, Texas.
The group worked on the wheelchair for two years. Many local businesses donated supplies, while FedEx donated the shipping for the large package from Austin to California.… Read more
Pushing to stay one step ahead of rivals, First Solar today set a new mark for the efficiency of its solar panels.
The company said that it achieved 14.4 percent efficiency in converting sunlight to electric power for a panel in its research labs. At the individual solar-cell level, the efficiency is 17.3 percent. (Solar cells are assembled and linked together in a solar panel).
For solar-panel manufacturers, efficiency and production costs are the two primary levers to differentiate products. With the ramp-up of well-financed Chinese manufacturers, the price of solar panels has plummeted over the past three … Read more
Not to be outdone by Boy Scouts who can now earn a robotics badge, a team of Girl Scouts from Iowa has created a prize-winning prosthetic device to help a 3-year-old girl born without fingers on her right hand.
The Flying Monkeys robotics team developed the BOB-1 tool as part of the FIRST Lego League (FLL) competition, an international kids' robotics program.
The Monkeys are 11 to 13 years old, including one who has a limb difference that provided inspiration for the invention. The girls consulted a prosthetics maker and an occupational therapist and came up with a design that has a platform strapped to the arm as well as a cylindrical holder for writing implements or other tools.
The device helped 3-year-old Danielle hold a pencil with her right arm and write for the first time. It also netted the Flying Monkeys an FLL Global Innovation award of up to $20,000 to patent the invention, which they have applied for (PDF).
Danielle's family has worked with the team to improve the device and would like another for a 5-year-old boy it adopted who also has a limb difference.
This week, more than 500 robots and 10,000 students from around the country who have participated in regional competitions will head to the Georgia Dome in Atlanta for the FIRST National Robotics Championship.
Below is a panoramic photo from the auditorium where the FIRST Robotics Sacramento Regional competition was held. On the left, you can see student teams preparing to play this year's game, called Lunacy, as they make modifications and repairs to their designs in the mechanics' pit. Across the gymnasium and to the right sits the game floor, where their robots will attempt to score points … Read more
Teams from around Northern California gathered this week at the University of California at Davis for the FIRST Robotics Competition, an event in which high school engineers design and build robots that must complete technical tasks throughout the games. (More details after the jump.)