October 13, 2018

The Iroquois Ridge Oakville library hosted a robotics presentation for the public. E-Bots robotics, our organization, was invited to have a spot to present there. E-Bots had tables set up demonstrating their robotics camps and their FLL teams, while we had a section of the floor to ourselves. There was also an FRC team there and some companies showcasing their innovations.

We spent the 10-3pm time slot doing our usual presentation with last years winning In the Zone robot. We drive the robot around, letting any curious kids try driving themselves, while other team members explain in more detail to parents and older kids what the competition is about. Since it was a robotics expo, there were loads of interested parents or regular adults that happened to pass through the library. A few were so inclined to look through our documentation books for even more detail. Many said they were very impressed with how much time and effort we put into that robot. We explained a lot about how we got into robotics through E-Bots, and how our graduates who have just gotten into university are doing now. Altogether it was a tiring yet fun experience!

August 11, 2018

A two day VEX Robotics Girl Powered Workshop was held at the Google Campus in Sunnyvale California. This event that helped expose over 500 girls to robotics, and was put on as a collaboration between the Robotics Education & Competition (REC) Foundation and Google. Through it, over 100 teams were able to build and program simple robots to compete in an event-wide tournament. Not only did participants get to develop fundamental skills, but they also got to learn from incredible speakers like Dan Mantz (CEO of REC), Kate Matsudeira (Director of Engineering at Google) and Anjalee Narenthiren (PiLons member). In addition, the participants got cool prizes, met amazing people, and got presentations from last year’s World Champions (the PiLons).

Five team members were able to fly down to the event and help. Over the course of the two days, we all volunteered to help answering questions, and shared knowledge on building and programming.

Our team was also asked to be a part of the opening presentation. We got the incredible opportunity to demo our robot in front of hundreds of students and countless Googlers. This demo included running our 1 minute auto skills (the highest in the world), and playing an exhibition match against 315 teams. Anjalee was also asked to help inspire the girls through a ten minute keynote.

Here is a video of the event (produced by Google). The PiLons start presenting at 50:40.

July 23, 2018

At Appleby College, they held “Robotics Jr.” and “VEX Robotics” camps this summer, and invited us to give the kids a demonstration of what robotics could lead to. Naturally, we jumped on the opportunity. They specifically wanted us to showcase our VEX Robotics Competitions, and the capabilities of our VEX robot.

We went to the room they held the two camps in, and layed out a 3 by 3 tile arrangement, placing 2 mobile goals down, 20 cones, and our robot. We opened up the day with a slideshow explaining VEX, the competition structure, our robot, development process, and then the In The Zone game. We then did a little demo with the robot, before allowing all the kids (and camp organisers) to run the robot, stack a few cones, and pick up and drop off mobile goals. All in all, the kids enjoyed the day very much, and loved seeing a robot as complex as ours going and doing so many things they’d never thought were possible.

June 22, 2018

Every year, the Town of Oakville is one of many cities to host a Ribfest event. For many years, E-Bots has run a station there, and this year was no different. Accompanied by FLL teams #3434 and #3436, as well as The Hydrators (FLL team #3436 of the 2016-17 season, Global Innovation winners), we did presentations on our team, described our Worlds experiences, and showed Ribfest just how important student competitions in the STEAM world are to Canadian communities.

As the team showed up, we set up a mini field for kids to toy with the robot, and see how the game might work. We also set up a table with some of our banners, trophies, and a TV displaying our skills runs and finals matches at worlds. We showed people videos of us in the dome, giving them a better look at what a real VEX game and field are like. They all seemed very impressed with what we’ve done, and proud of our Canadian team. Families were quite interested in the team, and the ways our team has been able to think of concepts and bring them to life. This was, overall, a successful show of the STEAM community, with some very tasty breaks in between presentations!

June 9, 2018

E-Bots is the organization The PiLons are based from, and every year for the benefit of the business they run, they allow us to attend their open house and share about VEX, our team, as well as advertise the company. Accompanied by the E-Bots FLL teams, we did presentations on our team, described our Worlds experiences, showed all the families that came in just how important student competitions in the STEAM world are to Canadian communities, and why these families need to get involved in STEAM education.

Our team had a meeting in the venue of this event an hour before it began. We got everything set up for the event. Unlike most other events, we had a full field to use, all the materials we built with on a regular basis, and the use of the space was all to our choice. We set up tables with some of our more notable rewards, a computer with code (so parents could see the complexity that goes into coding a VEX robot), and had a TV displaying robot games and skills runs throughout the evening. Kids and their families soon started coming in, and came to see us right away, to see how we accomplished what we did. They all seemed really impressed and proud with what our Canadian team has done, and the company of E-Bots as a whole. We also showed them the certificates we had earnt from our competition achievements, such as the signed certificate from our Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau. We hope to see some of the kids we presented to today join our classes and maybe even end up on the VEX team in the future.

April 14, 2018

When the girls came in, some female alumni/robotics team members talked to them about their experiences working in STEAM. Then, team members ran 1-on-1 introductory robotics lessons with the enthusiastic students. Using LEGO Mindstorms, we introduced them to concepts like conditionals, looping, and sensors. We helped teach the girls about how they could make the robots move. Then, we introduced the light sensor and showed them how the robot can be programmed to stop at a black line. Finally, we introduced if-else statements and loops to help the girls program their robots to follow a black line. In  celebration, we ended off the challenge by getting the girls to program their robots to dance! All the students had a great time, and many were excited to continue their journey with robotics! We then brought the students into the back room where they could see our VEX robot in action. This served as a sneak peek into what their robotics interest could lead them to in the future! Everyone on our team had a wonderful time sharing our passion for robotics.

June 17, 2017

At Buskerfest, we promoted the various E-Bots programs such as VEX IQ and LEGO Mindstorms. In addition to this, we brought our Starstruck robot to promote VEX Robotics and our team. We explained the VEX challenge to people who were unfamiliar with it and also shared our experiences from the Starstruck season. We held a small demonstration of our robot by showing it throwing game pieces and hanging. As a result, we received many questions and positive feedback. All-in-all, many families were highly interested in VEX Robotics. For the families that were interested in enrolling their children in E-Bots’ programs, we handed them pamphlets and explained more in depth about the programs and what children learn in them. Going to Buskerfest was definitely worthwhile and was an amazing success since we promoted not only VEX Robotics, but robotics in general.

July 2, 2017

We went to Ribfest to share our robotics experience with the community. Many people are not exposed to robotics, and it is an amazing activity to be a part of. We had robots set up for people to observe, including the one we used in last season’s competition. People were allowed to drive our robot and play a kind of mock game. We also handed out flyers in order to spread more information about our team while we were there. Our goal was to make people more interested in robotics so that they can hopefully get involved themselves. Our participation at Ribfest gets more people into the STEM field, and shows people what VEX has to offer for them.

November 19, 2017

Many people from our team have been volunteers or teachers at E-Bots. We all love robotics, and have gone through many of the E-Bots classes ourselves. From these classes, we all got a lot of our experience using these technologies. We enjoy helping inspire the next generation of engineers by sharing our knowledge. Many of the kids are even interested in our involvement in VEX Robotics and ask many questions about it. We are always excited to answer them, show them the robot and get them excited about this amazing competition we get to compete in. Through this community outreach activity, we get the opportunity to meet talented young individuals and help them get excited about STEM and VEX Robotics.

March 5, 2017

This event was held by team 1309A, in McMaster Innovation Park. The purpose of the event was to promote VEX, and spread the word of robotics throughout the community. Our 2 teams, along with team 1309A and 2188A were able to share our experiences and knowledge with everyone there. We were able to speak to people from around the community about VEX, and how they can get involved in it. The team was able to answer any questions that people might have about the competition or robotics in general. We all organized matches to play against one another. This gave the kids and parents an opportunity to see all the robots in action! We also ran our driver skills, showing the different aspects of VEX as well. Afterwards, the children got a chance to drive each robot around the field to really interact with the robots. Everyone who took part in this exhibition was able to learn something new and having fun every second doing it.

June 24, 2016

The Oakville Family Ribfest was an annual festival that attracts many people all over Oakville. People of all ages attend this event, from children to the elderly, as many people love ribs.  We went to Ribfest to share our robotics experience with the community. Many people are not exposed to robotics, and it is an amazing field to be in. We had robots set up for people to observe, including the one used in last season’s competition. People were allowed to control it to get a feel for the robot. We handed out flyers in order to spread the word more while we were there. Our goal was to make people more interested in robotics so that they can hopefully start working with them themselves. This will get more people into the STEM field, and will show people what VEX has to offer for them.

June 5, 2016

Buskerfest is an amazing family event where families from all over Ontario attend. Many children attend Buskerfest due to the fun atmosphere of the event as they have street performers, concerts, and many food stalls. We brought our VEX ‘Nothing But Net’ robot to promote VEX robotics. We explained the VEX challenge to people who were unfamiliar with it, and we further explained the challenges that our team had faced throughout the Nothing But Net season. After explaining the challenge, we ran a small demonstration of the robot by showing our transmission between our launcher and drivetrain. Many families were highly interested in VEX robotics. Going to Buskerfest was definitely worth the time and was an amazing success as we promoted not only VEX robotics, but robotics in general.

May 25, 2016

Tech Under 20 is a division of Silicon Halton who work to promote youth under the age of twenty to local business and technology companies. The event was started by Ella Rasmussen who was one of the founding members of our VEX team. We were asked to provide a demonstration of our robot for the youths attending as it is very much a STEM community. We talked about the challenge set forth by VEX this year and what personal struggles the team had encountered throughout the season. We then ran a demonstration of the robot and took some question from our audience. We also were asked questions about ways to get into VEX and were asked a lot about VEX before and after high school. The event was a great success as we reached out to many people and spread STEM education to them!