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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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.

Patriots Technology Training Center to Host 19th Annual Youth Summit on Technology

Seat Pleasant, MD—”Empowering Students Through Technology” has been the mission for over 19 years by increasing the number of students entering science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) ultimately leading towards college education and career paths in these fields. Over the years, Patriots Technology Training Center (PTTC) has partnered with major technology corporations, governments, non-profits such as BDPA, and related foundations to support their mission.

pttc-cyber2015bPatriots’ program stems from having an annual Youth Summit on Technology, Summer Camps and the Patriots STEM Carnival. Patriots also engages in Lego, Robotics, Bio-medical, Solar System, Flight Simulation, Video Design, Cyber Security and Science Bowl competitions. PTTC students have attended the National Society of Black Engineers conferences from Charlotte, NC; Boston, MA; Las Vegas, NV; to Dallas, TX.

This year, Patriots Technology Training Center will host their 19th annual Youth Summit on Technology at Bowie State University, Saturday, April 30, 2016. Select here for details.

—Source and photos: Patriots Technology Training Center

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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