Technology and Our Future

If you look back at our daily lives in 1989 when the FIRST Robotics Competition was first conceptualized by inventor Dean Kamen and MIT mechanical engineering professor Woodie C. Flowers it’s hard to imagine. Kamen, while most known for the invention of the Segway, made most of his impact with inventing the Auto syringe, a mobile dialysis system, an insulin pump, as well as an all terrain electric wheel chair. In 1989 Kamen and Flowers, realizing that the future laid in the hands of the youth, set out to find a way to engage and inspire students to explore engineering. Since then The FIRST Robotics Competition has expanded in to a worldwide event with 48,000 students coming from every state as well as Australia, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Germany, Israel, The Netherlands, Turkey and the United Kingdom.

The FIRST Robotics World Championships has 4 leagues. The main event is the FIRST Robotics Competition. This year’s challenge is to make a robot that can shoot balls into a goal. The teams will compete in tournament form and the highest scoring robot moves forward. Each match is 2 and ¼ minutes long. In case we forgot these robots are designed and produced start to finish by 14-18 year old high school students. If this weren’t impressive enough the first half of the match the robots perform on a preset automatic mode and the second half they are to be controlled by remote! Each team starts with a $6000 starter pack and can only spend an additional $3500 on their robots. The terms are released the first Saturday of January and the teams have 6 weeks to collaborate and innovate and produce.

Produce they do. So much so that the competition has expanded to include 3 other leagues. FIRST Lego League in which kids between the ages of 9-16 build hand held robots to compete in the same form as the FRC. Junior FIRST Lego League also follows the same theme for kids ages 6-9 building robots with at least one movable part. Lastly the FIRST Tech Challenge was added as a more affordable option for schools to build robots at an intermediate level. Last year these robots used Bluetooth technology to power the driver.

In 2008 former President George H.W. Bush came to Atlanta and spoke at the competition. That year $9.8 million in scholarships were handed out to participants. This year we are excited to see who will come and experience the friendly competition and meet the future trailblazers, and pioneers of our world. Inn at the Peachtrees looks forward to accommodating these brilliant little minds. Be on the look out for pictures next week of the kids and robots we have staying with us on our facebook page!

One World

This weekend here in Atlanta we enjoyed beautiful spring weather. With temperatures reaching the 50’s and the sun shining it has been hard to think of anything other than spring. Around town you could see couples out walking, Atlantic Station full of shoppers, and of course Piedmont Park was full of friends playing and picnicking alike. One student said “I don’t know how much studying I’m going to get done out here but it’s too nice of a day to be cooped up inside”. I must admit I agree. As we were enjoying our lazy weekend weather other parts of the world were in distress.

Chile suffered from an earthquake that was an 8.8 on the Richter scale that caused tsunamis in both Hawaii and Japan. Our hearts go out to everyone who has suffered a loss in this tragedy. The silver lining if you would like to call it that is due to the ample warning given by scientists, there were minimal loss in the tsunamis. Sunday during the closing ceremonies of the 2010 Winter Olympics while the world came together as one to celebrate sport and the accomplishment of these remarkable athletes, we also kept in our heart the struggle to come.

The 2010 Winter Olympics had a captivating closing filled with moving speeches, extravagant performances on ice, and rocking live music. Where else are you going to see Alanis Morissette, Michael J Fox, Neil Young, Averill Levine, and Nickelback on one stage with the world’s top athletes such as Shaun White and Anton Ohno, followed by hockey themed ice capades? Canada should be proud of not only the closing but the 14 gold medals they received. They received more gold medals than any other country becoming the first host country to accomplish the feat during the winter games. USA received the most medals over all with final count at 9 gold, 15 silvers, and 13 bronzes. We actually set a world record in the number of medals received during winter games!

Here in Atlanta we are looking forward to so much. Baseball being in the forefront. Braves spring training is underway. With the official season around the corner I’m sure every Atlantan can agree with Chuck Tanner when he said “If you don’t like the way the Atlanta Braves are playing then you don’t like baseball.” Following the Braves at a close second is the spring festival season with the local favorites like the Oyster Fest a few weeks ago and of course new festivals we welcome whole heartedly like the Winter Beer Carnival we had last weekend Atlanta looks forward to a spring full of merriment.

As for what’s to come this week, Atlanta is busy getting healthy! We have with us The Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society as well as Signature HealthCARE in town for their respective annual conferences. With Emory and Morehouse Schools of Medicine and Grady Hospital all located in Atlanta it would be a natural choice for the conferences to be held here. We hope you enjoy your time with us in Atlanta, and the Inn at the Peachtrees is delighted to have you!