2017 TechGarage Membership

TechGarage is a year round program designed to engage middle school and high school students who want to compete in robotic competitions. TechGarage is MakerSpace for kids focused on developing engineering skills at a young age in a fun but competitive environment. We recommend that team members meet twice a week for practice. We are open Wednesday-Friday from 6-8 and Saturday morning from 10-2 and Sunday from 2-8. Each team will figure out when they want to meet and we try and balance out the teams on different nights based on the number of teams participating. We will adjust the times we are open if possible to accomodate group meeting times.  

Fall Program

Robot Drone League

We are excited to announce the Robot Drone League and have been working on a fun but challenging program that will engage robot builders and programmers. A team will consist of two robots and two drones with two members for each robot and each drone for a total of eight members. The group will compete as a team during the season which runs from September - December.

For team members responsible for drones the focus will be on programming using the Bebop drone platform. We have been working with this platform for the last two years and have put together a python programming environment integrated with OpenCV for video analytics. We are very confident that anyone with an interest in programming regardless of age will be able to program the drone for flight. The drones comes pre-built and teams will have the option to add an apparatus to carry and drop ping pong balls in a target or do something advanced with a bluetooth arduino to open and close a servo to drop the ping pong ball. The drone focus for the competition will be developing autonomous programs for flight and using the camera to capture images of challenges presented during the match. The drones will also be critical in playing defense during the match as opposing robots will have a balloon attached and if popped will be required to return to base for a new balloon for continuing play.

For team members responsible for robot building and programming they will build a robot that has a maximum size of 24"x24"x24" that can solve various challenges and obstacles. The two drones and two robots will need to be designed by the team to score the most points possible in a match. Robots will also have an autonomous period that can be programmed by the group building the robot or by the programming team working on the drones. We want to encourage exposure to all elements of engineering but also recognize that some kids like to build and others like to program. With a team of eight members the team dynamic will be in place but also individual responsibility to build a robot or program a drone. The team dynamic is invaluable to learning important life skills and a critical part of the program.  

The game will be played on a half-size basketball court and a match will last 10 minutes. A team will play the best 2 out of 3 matches in a scheduled hour block.  A team would show up an hour prior to their scheduled matches on either Saturday or Sunday based on the number of teams in the league. Teams can get 30 minutes of robot field time in an hour which is a significant improvement over other programs that typically require 8+ hours to compete in five 2.5 minute matches. Another critical component of scoring that has been added to the competition is the presentation of Math and Science questions from standardized tests based on team age that can only be viewed and captured by drones. During the the 10 minute match team members will be able to answer the Math and Science questions for additional points. We will also introduce a handicap system that recognizes that some teams based on experience will build robots that can score more points. The league will keep track of the highest match score for each team. When two teams compete the difference in their highest score will be added to the team with the lowest team score. This allows the outcome of the matches to reflect teams that have made the most improvement which makes it fun and challenging for everyone. The wild card for each match will be how many Math and Science questions the team answered correctly. 

We will also be introducing skill certifications(beginner, intermediate, advanced, master, instructor) that allow individuals who have worked hard in CAD, Programming, Autonomous, Laser Cutting, 3D printing, Simulations, OpenCV etc to present their work to judges who can recognize their accomplishments. These skill certifications can be listed on a student resume when applying for scholarships, universities, internships or jobs as well as further motivate the mastery of important engineering skills.  In working with the TechGarage program over the last four years we have been amazed at the work the students are capable of doing if you provide them the resources in a challenging and fun environment. We want to recognize their work and provide examples for new members what is possible if you put in the time and the effort. 

At the end of the season team members will vote on who they think has the top four robots and top four drones and based on these votes will select the Robot Drone League Allstar team. We feel strongly that recognition by peers will be a balance between the most competitive robot/drone as well as senior members who exhibit good sportsmanship and willingness to help teams when needed. 

The rules of this years game will be announced at noon on September 9th as part of our 30 hour season kickoff. 

With eight members on a team we will not have an option to form teams with less than eight members. Teams will be organized with a focus on similar skills/grade level and we encourage friends to be on the same team. We will do our best to organize members into teams of eight where priority will be given based on order that new members register and attending TechGarage Summer Camp. You will have the opportunity to encourage friends to sign up to make a complete team of eight.  The season kickoff is September 9th and we will be conducting open house/tours September 5-7 to allow new members to meetup and form teams for the kickoff. We do not plan on creating any new teams after the September 9th kickoff. 

Spring Program

For the Spring program members will have the opportunity to compete in the open class of SeaPerch or MATE underwater robotics(May time frame). 

High School members and highly motivated middle schools students will be able to participate in the FRC robotics competition which starts first week of January and will compete in late March or April. 

Virtual Reality League

We are excited to announce that we will be forming teams to compete in the Intel Oculus VR Challenge League. We have created this program to get more members engaged in programming. We have nine VR Oculus 1080 workstations that will be used for competitions. The focus will be on Echo Arena which is based on the book/movie Ender's game. We tested the game at TechGarage Summer Camp program and not only is the game amazing it was a huge hit. A youtube video to show what you do in VR. Each member who participates in this program will be required to develop their own educational VR game. We are offering this option to motivate learning how to program not play video games but at the same time need to make it fun. Members who do not show progress or interest in developing their own game will not be able to participate in the TechGarage VR League. 

A video clip from Echo Arena

 

The real world perspective of playing Echo Arena

 

 

Monthly Membership 

The monthly membership fee is $125 as a convience compared to charging larger fees for each individual program. With a year round membership we are able to better plan for the number of teams who will be participating in programs allowing us to order needed inventory in advance of each program. The expectation is that if you cancel your monthly membership which can be done in paypal then you do not plan on participating in future programs. If you cancel your membership it is possible to signup for future programs based on availibility where a team may need to add an additional member.  Each summer we have a comprehensive four week robotics camp and you will get a discount of $125 per week of camp for active members. If you are not able to attend all four weeks then you can offer the discount to a friend who may be interested in joining the program.  As a member your team or individuals can meet when TechGarage is open, use the 3D printers, laser cutter and work on other school related projects. 

If you have any specific questions about the membership program please send an email to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

Please enter the student first name and last name in the following form and the subscribe button will take you to paypal website. PayPal will bill your account $125 per month and send you an email with payment details. You can cancel your membership at any time using PayPal.   

 

Student First Name
Student Last Name