Path Home Shows 2010 Show Archive March 2010 Show 1011 Interview With Meridian Team - Maximus Roboticus

Interview With Meridian Team - Maximus Roboticus

We visit with members of Meridian Technology Center's Maximus Roboticus team as they prepare for this year's regional competition.
Interview With Meridian Team - Maximus Roboticus

Meridian Team

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Show 1011: Interview With Meridian Team - Maximus Roboticus

Air date: March 14, 2010



Rob:  Well, joining me now in studio are members of one of the teams we visited with, Maximum Roboticus, which comprises of Paige Christy, Riley Sutton, and their instructors Darrel Negelein, Pre-engineering Instructor at Meridian Technology Center, as well as, David Barth.  Well, I have to ask first of all, Maximus Roboticus, explain that one to me.

Riley Sutton:  Well we tried to have a democratic process and have names brought forth by the team members, and we had some team names that were good ideas and not good ideas, and then we were trying to think of something that would be a theme that we could use year after year, so we kind of went with this Greek Methology, Maximus Roboticus.  This year the robots name is Zeus and so we thought each year we could have a different Greek characters name as the name of the robot.

Rob:  Keep on going through Methology.  Now Riley I got to, got to meet you on that first day of the kickoff, over six weeks ago, how have things changed in the past six weeks?

Riley:  They’ve changed a lot; like today, we were looking at the pictures of when we first started and we finished it, and the robot looks completely different.  It’s amazing how much we put on there.

Rob:  Paige, how much did you learn in this?

Paige Christy:  I learned that it’s not just, like working on the robot and stuff, I learned teamwork, like getting to work with other students in the program; a lot of hands-on, I wouldn’t have learned if I hadn’t done this.

Rob:  Darrel as an instructor in the Pre-engineering Academy at Meridian Technology Center, how important is a hands-on application?

Darrel Negelein:  The hands-on part is critical, especially for the science fields and engineering because you can’t learn everything in a textbook.  You have to really feel it and do it to get a full understanding of what’s going on.

Rob:  And David, have you seen a transformation in some of these students?

David Barth:  Definitely.  We’ve had students who at the beginning of this didn’t really, maybe want to have anything to do with it, or they wanted to stand on the sidelines and kind of overlook and see what the other students were doing.  And some of those same students, two or three weeks into the build season, were down on their backs with a screwdriver in hand tightening screws, you know, just getting dirty and having fun working on the robot.

Rob:  Yeah.  So a question I wanted to ask both of the students and we’ll start with you Riley, what did you learn best?

Riley:  Like my favorite think I learned was all the hands-on things, bolting things down and putting them together and like, putting them on the robot.

Rob:  And, how about you Paige?

Paige:  I learned that it takes a lot to make a robot.  At first I thought that it, wouldn’t it be easy, but I didn’t think of all the steps that went into it, the programming, the framework, everything from the tight, like the frame itself to tightening screws on the lid or something that’s very small but turns into a big problem.

Rob:  Well, I think that it’s important to know here too, that while this is a really huge project, and I want to hear, how many hours, does anyone have any idea how many hours you’ve spent working on this robot?

Riley:  I would just take a stab that we probably put in thirty hours a week at the very beginning of the build season, of course we started this back in December just meeting as a group, but thirty hours a week until this last week and then we probably put in close to seventy or eighty hours the last week.

Rob:  Getting it ready for competition.

Riley:  We had to have it bagged, sealed in a bag at midnight this last Tuesday.

Rob:  Alright.  Now, but as big as this project is, this is really part of a larger program, this Engineering Academy.  Tell us a little bit about that Darrel.

Darrel:  Well, the Engineering Academy, the purpose of it, there’s a big need for engineers all around the world right now, especially in the United States, so in trying to increase that Project Lead the Way is a national program that provides curriculum specifically for training engineers.  We have taken that curriculum and incorporating the academics with Physics this year, we’ll do Chemistry in the future, and Algebra II and Pre-calculus, we’ll do Calculus in the future, put all that together so they have the hands-on things and the academics to be able to get a college degree.

Rob:  And, Paige, why did you decide to join this Engineering Academy?

Paige:  I have wanted to be an engineer since probably eighth grade, and when I went on the Meridian tour and heard that they were doing a Pre-engineering Academy the following year, I decided that I would enroll in that and see if I really wanted to be an engineer.

Rob:  And, Riley, earlier you said you come from a family of engineers, do you feel like that kind of gives you a leg up kind of heading off to college?

Riley:  Yeah, my grandfather’s a Petroleum Engineer and my dad’s a Software Engineer and they’ve, they’ve helped me become interested in engineering and science has always been my favorite subject.  And, this summer I heard about it from my brother, he went to the summer camp, and I decided to enroll here.

Rob:  So David, going to be going off to the competition at the end of March, then what happens?

David:  You mean once we get there?

Rob:  Yes, once you get there.

David:  Well, I don’t know, but uh, cause this will be our first time as far as Mr. Negelein and I, but as I understand it we’ll be practicing on Thursday, the first day, and then Friday we will have competition all day long with others, I think there’s fifty-five teams registered for the Oklahoma Regional, and then on Saturday is the finals; if we make it to the finals or we’re selected by another alliance.

Rob:  Now, now I have to ask both or you young people, was this what you were expecting Paige?

Paige:  I don’t think so.  I went into this not really knowing what to expect, it was something that I kind of had to do in a way, so when I got into it it was a lot more fun and I learned a lot more than I thought I would.  It was more hands-on experience than I thought and it was cool to see it go from, in the beginning of the six weeks from just a frame and in the end seeing the kicking mechanisms going on it and everything put together and it working in the end.

Rob:  And, and you Riley, any lessons learned?

Riley:  Yeah, it wasn’t, like when I first started, joined the program, I wasn’t real sure about it and I was kind of anxious to see what it was going to be like and then when I got here I really enjoyed it; and, I think it’s better than going to the high school and learning math and science there.

Rob:  And, and Darrel, I think it’s important to note that while this competition is mainly centered with the Pre-engineering Academy, there’s a lot of other people working with the Robotics Program.

Darrel:  We’ve had students, there’s one student in the CAD Program that has, up until the last week because we kind of built a lot of little components adding on, up to that point had the entire robot built in a three-dimensional program.  So, he made a three-dimensional drawing of the kicking foot, one foot on there, and we sent that file down and in the Precision Metal Program they cut that piece out and then we had the Machine Tool Program drill the pieces out to help us put on there; and then we put it all on there, it fit because we had all those persons involved in doing that.  And with all the programming, since it’s all run through computer controls, the IT Program has done a lot in helping with those, Carpentry helped us make some parts for the field so we could see, so it’s an entire school robot.

Rob:  Alright well, Darrel, Paige, David, Riley, good luck to everybody.

Voices:  Thanks.