Robots Compete during RoboJawn as Philly Tech Week Returns

PHILADELPHIA — Robots take the field for their initial rounds of competition during RoboJawn ‘22. FIRST Tech Challenge RoboJawn is similar to an official tournament in many ways.

Teams bring their robots and their Gracious Professionalism to compete in this year’s FREIGHT FRENZY challenge following FIRST‘s challenge rules.

Students inspect and calibrate their robots for RoboJawn 2022 bdpatoday photo © 2022

Similar to an official tournament, teams are interviewed by a panel of judges, and submit an engineering portfolio, to vie for judged awards.

Central High School in Philadelphia, PA hosted this year’s RoboJawn. For this year’s off-season competitions, bdpatoday co-sponsored Central High School’s and Philadelphia High School for Girls’ RoboJawn teams.

For upcoming RoboJawn events, visit → https://roboticscoalition.org/

— Source: Philadelphia Robotics Coalition | Cover photo: bdpatoday


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Explore new careers at Octo

Verizon-Cisco collaboration advances autonomous vehicle tech

BASKING RIDGE, N.J.— Cisco and Verizon collaborated on a successful proof of concept demo in Las Vegas, showing that cellular and mobile edge compute (MEC) technology can enable autonomous driving solutions without the use of costly physical Roadside Units to extend radio signals.

The result paves a simpler and more efficient route to powering applications such as autonomous/unmanned last-mile delivery bots and robotaxis in cities like Las Vegas, where public MEC technologies exist. Additionally, cities and roadway operators could create safer roads with C-V2X applications including pedestrian protection, emergency and transit vehicle pre-emption, on and off-ramp protection (e.g., when a loaded truck needs autonomous guidance to merge or brake safely), and potentially others that involve vehicles approaching intersections with traffic signals.

Proof of concept

Autonomous features in connected vehicles have always relied on roadside radios to extend the signals vehicles use for low-latency communication with each other and surrounding connected infrastructure. The Cisco and Verizon test proved that Verizon’s LTE network and public 5G Edge with AWS Wavelength, together with Cisco Catalyst IR1101 routers in connected infrastructure, can meet the latency thresholds required for autonomous driving applications – replacing the costly roadside radios previously required to meet those needs.

By using LTE and edge compute to virtualize the role of the Roadside Units, C-V2X communications proved to be more streamlined – likely to result in improved efficiency and cost effectiveness for municipalities, infrastructure providers, and application developers working with autonomous vehicles. (C-V2X refers to a vehicle’s ability to communicate with other vehicles and connected infrastructure surrounding it.)

The result demonstrates that connected and autonomous vehicle applications can be deployed today using LTE networks, mobile edge compute, and in-vehicle interfaces deployed by OEMs. These capabilities could lead to safer, less congested roads with current connected and autonomous vehicles, with scalability for future applications hosted at the edge and using LTE and 5G connectivity.

Connected transportation – powered by cellular

Improving communication between vehicles and their surrounding infrastructure is essential for creating safer roadways and enabling the autonomous future of driving. Intersections must be securely connected and equipped with compute to allow applications at the edge to communicate and inform split-second decision making.

“This test is a huge milestone in proving that the future of connectivity for IoT applications can be powered by cellular,” said Krishna Iyer, Director of Systems Architecture, Verizon. “We’re marking the strength of mobile edge compute platforms for connected transportation innovation with much more streamlined architecture. Together with Cisco technologies, we’re setting the foundation potentially to realize a ubiquitous IoT in the connected and autonomous future of driving.”

“The future of autonomous vehicles cannot progress without reliable communication between vehicles and their surrounding environments,” said Mark Knellinger, Lead Transportation Solutions Architect, Cisco. “This is huge for roadway operators in that it relieves them of the massive expense of deploying and operating a dedicated V2X environment.”

— by Matt Conte, Verizon

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Drones May Be Here to Stay. Here’s What They Mean for Our Future

Drone technology has grown tremendously over the years. Here’s how the industry is growing in the D.C. area

By Michelai Graham

WASHINGTON—When I think of drones, I think about all the fun possibilities of playing with them. Could I just have a drone follow me around all day? Wouldn’t a drone race be cool? How fast can they really go?

But drone usage goes far beyond playtime. Technologically speaking, a drone is an unmanned aircraft that can be remotely controlled or fly autonomously via internal software-based sensors and GPS. Drones are transforming commercial industries, being used in military operations, helping first responders locate damage and people during disasters and becoming a fun hobby for people in general.

(AUVSI) reports there will be more than 100,000 jobs in unmanned aircraft and drone technology by 2025.

The Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International (AUVSI) reported that there will be more than 100,000 jobs in unmanned aircraft and drone technology by 2025. The Arlington, Virginia-based association also reported that the drone industry will have an economic impact of more than $13.6 billion. Right now, Virginia is ranked in the top eight states predicted to see the most gains in terms of job creation and additional revenue form the drone technology industry, with California ranking as number one.

Drones and RoboticsGettyImages

Drone technology is being used all around the world in various industries from logistics to filmmaking, law enforcement, real estate and more. Here’s how the drone industry is growing in the D.C. area.

Drone Technology Advancements in DC

Last October, The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) ruled that people can operate drones for commercial and government use if they weight 55 pounds or less. Some of the operating requirements include keeping your drone in sight, avoiding manned aircrafts, operating one drone at a time, and avoiding flying drones over people unless they are directly participating in an operation. Check out this fact sheet for FAA’s small unmanned aircraft systems regulations.

To even fly drones in the area, you must obtain a Remote Pilot Certificate from the FAA. Drone pilots must be 16 years old, be in good physical and mental health, be able to understand English, and above all, pass the aeronautical knowledge exam. Maryland also offers some other drone schooling programs.

One of the most successful uses of drone technology in D.C. is how the Environmental Protection Agency is using it to manage livestock and survey crops. In the future, the agency is hoping to help farmers use drones to spray crops.

If you’re looking to fly your drone commercially in the D.C. area, Virginia and Maryland have drone lawns, which are designated airspaces for drone activity. Make sure you know where you can and can’t fly in the D.C. area airspace.

Whether using drones for aerial photography, surveillance, or mapping, there is a plethora of companies in the D.C. area advancing drone technology. Here are 10 drone companies one may want to know about.

It’s important to note that drone flight across the National Capital Region (NCR) is governed by a Special Flight Rules Area, which prohibits unmanned aircrafts from operating within 15 miles of Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport without FAA authorization.


Michelai Graham is the Washington, D.C. Bureau Senior Editor for bdpatoday.

Michelai Graham is the Washington, D.C. Bureau Senior Editor for bdpatoday.

GM executive Telva McGruder promoted as automotive giant’s tech-inclusion missions rapidly evolve

Register today for this year's digital experience! BDPA2020 | bdpa2020.com

DETROIT, MI (BDPA Detroit) ― General Motors Company (GM), welcomes Telva McGruder as their new Chief Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Officer. In a recent statement, the global automotive corporation looks forward to Telva’s leadership as she expands on their current Diversity team’s efforts to bring GM closer to their aspiration of being the most inclusive company in the world.

Telva recently served as GM’s Director of Workplace Engineering and Operations Solutions in the Sustainable Workplaces organization at General Motors. Named to her last position in August of 2016, Telva supported the global footprint as she leads facility engineering, technologies, energy strategy and multiple facility management strategies. Her team designs and implements sustainable technical solutions, ensuring environments for successful enterprise operations. Her team also focused on comprehensive facility management operations through key business partnerships. Global process leadership in the areas of facility maintenance, energy procurement, contract management and material handling ensure coordination across the operating regions.

telva-mcgruder_gm_headPreviously, Telva was Tool and Die Commodity Engineering Manager in Global Body Manufacturing Engineering. In this role, she led the engineers responsible for closure panel engineering and launch deliverables on all North American vehicle programs.  Prior to that assignment, Telva was the Engineering Group Manager of Die Center Program Management, where she led the team responsible for tool and die strategy, planning, quality and launch for global vehicle programs.

Telva earned her Bachelor of Science degree in Electrical Engineering from Purdue University and began her career as a Test Operations Engineer for Sverdrup Technology, working at the NASA Lewis (Glenn) Research Center in Cleveland, OH.  She moved on to start her career with General Motors as a manufacturing engineer in 1994 while completing her Master of Science in Electrical Engineering at Purdue University.  Since then, she has held positions of increasing responsibility and influence within manufacturing and manufacturing engineering, including manufacturing maintenance, operations and project management for major Press Center projects. Her career path has led her through Ohio, Indiana, Ontario, and she is now making contributions in Michigan.

GM Orion Assembly - Bolt EV and Sonic

Telva contributes to development of the talent pipeline for General Motors. She is the president of the General Motors African Ancestry Network (GMAAN) and also serves as the GM executive liaison for the Women of Color STEM Conference and the BEYA STEM Conference, which GM proudly sponsors.  With her focus on personal and professional growth, Telva is the Vice-Chair of the Board of Advocacy and Resource Development for the Oakland University School of Health Sciences. She also serves as a dedicated member of the Advisory Board for the University of Michigan School for Environment and Sustainability.

Along with her professional accomplishments, Telva is dedicated to teaching and leading others inside and outside of General Motors. She enjoys mentoring professionals as well as motivating young students to pursue STEM fields and leadership opportunities. She is the Chair of the Board of Directors for the Girl Scouts of Southeastern Michigan and committed to building girls of courage, confidence and character. Among her volunteer activities, Telva has served as a mentor for FIRST FRC high school robotics teams and is a volunteer for A World in Motion, an SAE program.

Telva enjoys wonderful life experiences with her husband, son and two daughters.  Telva is a positive, driven individual with a keen sense of what is important.  She looks forward to continued opportunities to contribute in both local and professional communities.

Source and photo credits:
GM  (Assemble line Photo by Jeffrey Sauger for Chevrolet)

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Register here, today! Discover more about this year’s $97 million Air Force technology transfer programs for small businesses and research institutions.  Powered by BDPA during vBDPA2020, learn step-by-step approaches to capture start-up funding and defense contracts with HBCUs and start-ups.

Small Businesses and HBCUs, select here to register.

BDPA Huntsville Helps Students Get Wired Up!

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HUNTSVILLE, AL — National BDPA’s Huntsville Chapter was given the opportunity to train students about STEM at Mae Jemison High School. BDPA Members Bernard Nealy, Brandon Fields, Pat King and Jason Bradshaw were the instructors for this training session.

The training session included high school seniors from Mae Jemison, one high school senior and two elementary students from Birmingham who were guests of the instructors. During the session the students had the opportunity experience electrical engineering by connecting a Raspberry Pi microcomputer to a CAMJam Kit breadboard by wiring the two devices together. While also installing resistors, and red, green, & yellow lights to the breadboard.

Once the students completed wiring the two devices together they connected the Raspberry Pi to a monitor, keyboard, and mouse. After it was safely connected the students then were able to connect power to the Pi and proceed to use Python programming to complete the project. Once they completed the code which dictates how the Pi provides power to the breadboard, to each light, and when to halt from sending electrical current, then their results would either be red, yellow, or the green lights to power on.

Participating students really enjoyed the training and asked when the next training sessions would be held. These students are our inspiration to do what we do.

Source and photo creditbdpahsv.org

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Commemorate Baltimore’s Innovation Week, Hispanic Heritage month, and Cybersecurity Awareness Month next weekend in Baltimore with Regional SHPE, NSBE, and BDPA Chapters!

October 12-13, 2019  |  University of Baltimore |  Media Sponsor: bdpatoday

Minority Innovation Weekend | October 12-13, 2019 in Baltimore

National BDPA Hosts South Regional Technology Conference

NASHVILLE, TN — BDPA Chapter representatives from Atlanta, GA, Huntsville, AL, Memphis TN, and Middle Tennessee gathered at the David Lipscomb University’s Swang Business Center for the annual BDPA South Regional Conference held June 22nd and 23rd, 2018.

This year the event was hosted by National BDPA’s Middle Tennessee Chapter. The conference was informative and worthwhile. The primary goal of the conference was to bring together chapters in BDPA’s South Region to engage in learning and networking to increase regional collaboration with Industry and to achieve stronger camaraderie with BDPA in local communities and the workplace.

High School Computer Competition | #HSCC
Students from the BDPA Atlanta and BDPA Middle Tennessee chapters competed in this category. Each team had only three (3) hours to solve a finance problem and build a web-based application. Afterwards, each team presented their project to a team of judges. The winners were the BDPA Atlanta team who were presented with a gold medal.

Wilfred Powell, senior at Daniel McLaughlin Therrell High School
Christopher Ballenger, senior at Dekalb Early College Academy
Saleem Saafir, sophomore at Georgia Connections Academy Charter School
Sarah Gichuhi, soon-to-be freshman at Georgia Institute of Technology

Youth Technology Camp | #YTC
Students in attendance got a wonderfully opportunity to participate in two (2) events – Raspberry Pi and mobile app simulation “What if there is an App for That?”. For Raspberry Pi students created a game and for the mobile app simulation they brainstormed and created blueprints for apps.

South Regional winners for 2018 were:

• 1st Place – Elyse Seats, grade 6, who proposed a social media app for hair enthusiasts. It is called “Hair it Out”. You can take a picture of your face and try different hair styles. Also it will connect you to different salons to achieve desire look.
• 2nd Place – Sunny Singha, grade 7, who proposed a whistle-blowing app
for children to alert their parents of their siblings’ wrongdoing.
• Special recognition went to a six-year who proposed an app called Jungle
Chase – a temple-run game where the main character escapes a hungry bear.

2018 BDPA South Regional Officers

Professional Development Workshop
Adults in attendance networked and participated in technical and professional development workshops.

Kareem DaSilva, BDPA Memphis President, conducted the technical workshop. He presented on the topic “Build Innovative Apps with React Native”. He shared with the audience how to use React Native to build iOS and Android applications natively using JavaScript and React

Raphael Villas, 2013 alumni of Presidential Innovation Fellows Program, who conducted the professional development workshop – “Highlights of IT Careers”. He shared his experience working with the federal government, his career as a web generalist, a software developer working with non-profits, and Fortune 500 companies such as Groupon and VeggieTales. He stressed the importance of having interpersonal skills as well as technical skills to better suit the needs of one’s user base. Using his career path as an example, he shared how diverse the opportunities of the technology industry are, and how rewarding the public sector can be.

PepperSpecial Guest – “Pepper” The Humanoid Robot
Thanks to corporate sponsor, Deloitte LLP, everyone in attendance got an opportunity to meet The Humanoid Robot, Pepper. The creators of Pepper shared with everyone the ins and outs of what it took to build and program Pepper. Then we watched with excitement how the developers used code to have Pepper speak and dance.

The conference concluded with an award ceremony for the students who competed. Special acknowledgement went to all volunteers from BDPA Members, Deloitte LLP employees and to sponsors David Lipscomb University’s Swang Business Center for making the BDPA South Regional Conference a great success. We look forward to seeing everyone during the upcoming 40th annual National BDPA Technology Conference scheduled from August 9th to August 11th in New Orleans, LA.

submitted by Jada Evonne Thomas, BDPA Memphis
Source and photos: Host Chapter, BDPA Middle Tennessee

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Careers at Deloitte

BDPA Huntsville hosts Spring Technology Showcase

HUNTSVILLE, AL — On a beautiful Saturday morning, the Huntsville Chapter of BDPA (BDPA-HSV) hosted a Spring Technology showcase. At the event several BDPA members engaged with young students in Huntsville sharing new technologies and trends within their community.

The event kicked off with speaker Patricia King discussing many accomplishments and struggles throughout her career as an African-American female engineer. Mrs. King also discussed how pneumatics work and taught a hands-on application using Legos. During the second part of the showcase, BDPA-HSV member Casandra Nealy showcased the Lego EV3 Robot with its various configurations and functionalities.

hsv-2After a brief intermission, Bernard Nealy, Casandra’s father and BDPA-HSV member, started off the third segment of the technology showcase by displaying large hardware and software capabilities of the small Raspberry Pi computer. The showcase concluded with a cybersecurity briefing by BDPA-HSV members Claudia Williams and Sylvia Archie, who are both Certified Ethical Hackers and Cyber Security Analysts for the United States Army.

Upon closing, Vice President  of Technology Rosalind McCullough and Vice President of Business Strategy and Planning, Steton Walker, engaged with student discussions about embracing their dreams and striving for success in whatever fields they desire to pursue. Networking and socializing went very well among parents, chapter members, and students. BDPA-HSV will have several new technology events in the near future.

The chapter also will host its first annual golf tournament during Earth Day Weekend on April 20th, 2018. For more information on future events visit bdpahsv.org.

— Source and photos: Jason Bradshaw
BDPA Huntsville 

BDPA Huntsville 2018 Annual Golf Tournament


BDPA (formerly known as Black Data Processing Associates) of Greater Huntsville is presenting its 1st Annual Golf Tournament on April 20, 2018, at the Sunset Landing Golf Course. This event is structured to help support BDPA’s High School Computer Competition (HSCC), Scholarships, and fund technical programs needed to execute the Chapter’s tasks to meet community objectives with corporate stakeholders and mission partners.

Select here to register.

Black Girls Code on ‘GMA’

Black Girls Code founder opens up about breaking barriers in tech on ‘GMA’

New York—Kimberly Bryant, founder of Black Girls CODE, discusses how her program bgc-gma2_feb2018is inspiring young African-American and girls of color to embrace and get deeply involved in STEM programs to discover new career paths across our tech world.

Since their launch in April 2011, Black Girls CODE has had the honor of bringing technology and entertainment to many wonderful girls of color. By teaching the girls programming and game design, they hope to have started the lifelong process of developing in them a true love for technology and the self-confidence that comes from understanding the greatest tools of the 21st century.

— Source and photos: Black Girls CODE and Black Girls CODE New York Chapter

imagine. build. create.  Own a better future. Visit http://blackgirlscode.org/

Tech Divas are welcome, and should apply → CODE WARRIORS
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Grass-Roots Tech Organization Reaches 20-Year Youth Tech Milestone

SEAT PLEASANT, MDPatriots Technology Training Center (Patriots) 20th annual Youth Summit on Technology launched Saturday, May 6, 2017 with a Mix and Mingle breakfast session, industry keynote speaker, career and organization exhibits. Members congratulated Patriots’ Founder and Executive Director, Thurman Jones (next photo, far right), for reaching their 20-year milestone.

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College and technical career workshops were conducted by Industry with parents, students, and community leaders. Parent workshops on tuition for college, financial resources for college, and federal agency programs that provide internships were presented to attendees and BDPA Student Members.

IMG_8310This year’s tech summit was an exciting one-day technology forum bringing Patriots’ students together with high-tech, government, and education professionals from the National Capital Region in fun-filled learning environments.

Lieutenant General Vincent R. Stewart (above), U.S. Marine Corps, provided the keynote address. General Stewart is the Director of the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA).

Patriot’s Tech Summits are designed to introduce and prepare students for college and open new possibilities for each of them to pursue a new career in Science, Technology, Engineering, or Math (STEM).  This year’s Youth Tech Summit competitions included:

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  • Computer Building
  • Cyber Security
  • Flight Simulation
  • Renewable Energy
    Patro Tech  Jeopardy Game

Prior to the turn of the century in the mid to late 1990’s, Patriots Technology Training Center hosted National BDPA’s Washington D.C. Chapter (BDPA-DC) high school computer competition (HSCC) training programs.  Patriots also engages in Lego, Robotics, Bio-Medical, Solar System, Flight Simulation, Video Design, Cyber Security and Science Bowl competitions.

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Patriots’ students and BDPA Student Members also attend annual National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE) conferences, annual Regional BDPA Innovation Summits, and participate in National BDPA Technology Conference coding (HSCC) and IT Showcase competitions.

Sources:
Patriots Technology Training Center
BDPA Washington, D.C.
— Photos:
© 2017 bdpatoday

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Did a Robot Break Rubik’s Cube-Solving Record

NPR reports two guys in Kansas City, Mo., have built a robot that can solve the cube in an amazing 1.2 seconds.

Don’t Blink: Robot Solves Rubik’s Cube In Just Over 1 Second

by Bill Chappell | NPR

WASHINGTON—In a blazing display of physical efficiency and analytical speed that’s likely to infuriate anyone who’s ever struggled to solve a Rubik’s Cube puzzle, two guys in Kansas City, Mo., have built a robot that can solve the cube in an amazing 1.2 seconds.

Actually, some of the robot’s times are under 1.2 seconds. A video on YouTube posted by software engineer Jay Flatland shows the robot — a collection of motors, webcams and 3D-printed parts — whizzing to a solution in 1.196 seconds.

One time recorded in the video was even quicker: 1.04 seconds. That came after Flatland covered the robot’s cameras with a piece of paper and scrambled the cube by hand before replacing it in the frame.

rubiks-cube-coDesignThe robot uses a specially prepared cube with small holes drilled into each side, allowing it to grip the cube securely. Describing the robot in the video, Flatland says information from four USB webcams is fed into a computer that uses a cube-solving algorithm called Kociemba, which then “determines a set of moves to solve the cube very rapidly.”

Photo: Co.Design

The robot’s time is several seconds faster than the fastest human time of 4.904 seconds, which was set in November by 14-year-old Lucas Etter of Lexington, Ky. It’s also two seconds quicker than the time of 3.253 seconds that has been the robot record for solving a Rubik’s Cube since March of 2014.

The Kansas City team of Flatland and fellow engineer Paul Rose hopes to have the record certified by the folks at Guinness World Records next week, Flatland tells NPR editor Avie Schneider.

The robot’s times are impressive, but it has a ways to go if it wants to match the reaction to Etter’s feat—watch this…

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