Community Involvement—FIRST Robotics

Preparation is the key to success.  QTI Design & Quality Tool prepares local high school students for success by sponsoring a local FIRST Robotics team.  This competition encourages students to develop skills in engineering.  According to FIRST Robotics, after joining, 88% of participants are more interested in doing well in school and 92% more interested in attending college.  Team 2491-No Mythic, also known as “The Unicorns”, is made up of two St. Paul schools: Great River and Avalon.  Inspiring young men and women to push themselves while developing friendships along the way is incredibly rewarding.

FIRST Robotics was founded in 1989 by Dean Kamen in Manchester, New Hampshire.  FIRST is an acronym for “For Inspiration & Recognition of Science & Technology”.  This international competition has grown exponentially since its inception.  As an illustration of the growth, there are more FIRST Robotics teams than high school hockey teams in the state of Minnesota.  Combining the excitement of sports with the rigors of science and technology, FIRST Robotics is able to host an excellent competition.  We work alongside the high school aged students in hopes of developing skills that will guarantee success as they transition into adulthood.

The Competition

Teams are made up of ten or more students with two adult mentors.  All skill levels are encouraged to join in hopes of elevating their current abilities.  Each team has six weeks to design and build a robot weighing 120 pounds.  This phase of the competition helps develop skills in design, project management, programming, teamwork, and strategic problem solving.  Once teams start competing, they are put into alliances made up of three total teams.  In this year’s competition, these alliances must complete a set of tasks over a two minute and thirty second time frame.

How does a team win?  Just like any other competition…they must score more points than the opposing alliance.  Teams must transfer strategically places “power cubes” to accumulate points and take advantage of various power ups.  One way to score is to gain ownership of a six foot teeter-totter in the middle of the field of play which accumulates 1 point per second when leaning in their favor.  Another way to score is for an alliance to gain ownership of a smaller teeter-totter which also accumulates 1 point per second when the scale is tilted in their favor.  Teams can deliver power cubes to the alliance’s vault in exchange for power ups that offer various advantages.  To end the competition, the robots must climb to the top of the scale in the middle of the playing field.  Whichever alliance has the most points at the end of the match advances.

Camaraderie & Commitment-An Exceptional Combination

Team 2491 No Mythic, has been working with QTI Design and Quality Tool for a few years now.  We began this relationship by offering our knowledge of sheet metal and manufacturing equipment.  The team used to send us sketches of what they needed for their robot.  Now, “The Unicorns” send us very detailed CAD models and have shown progress that is quite impressive.  Everyone at the St. Paul facility, from manufacturing workers, to salespeople, to the high-level executives have become invested in the No Mythic team.

With a new build season upon us, the No Mythic team has been hard at work.  In fact, they have invested 9,338 hours in their 2018 project.  They had one competition in Grand Forks, North Dakota in the beginning of March.  The team took 7th out of 43 teams and won the Quality Award for the third year in a row. “The Unicorns” were invited to compete at the Minnesota State Championship for their outstanding performance.  The team has a goal to reach 10,000 hours of work before the North Star Regional (held at Mariucci Arena) at the end of March.  The average student will put in 300 hours of team time each year illustrating how serious “The Unicorns” take these competitions.

This extraordinary group of young men and women recently toured our facility and seemed genuinely intrigued with our process.  One student even asked “how old do you have to be to work at Quality Tool?” in hopes of scoring an engineering job. “The Unicorns” had a demo day at the St. Paul facility during our St. Patrick’s Day celebration.  It is safe to say that everyone was fascinated by this years robot.  The growing passion for engineering and the camaraderie of “The Unicorns” truly provides a competitive advantage that is unmatched.

Here is more information on this years competition:

Check out Team 2491 NoMythic’s website to stay updated on their progress:

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