Arlington schools' robotics team shows off their skills to engineers, inventors, international press

Arlington Public Schools
Arlington Public Schools' NeoBots 2903 FIRST Robotics team students Dan Radion, Justin Haynes, Robert Haynes, Sean McClenaghan, Trevor Staiger, Breena Sarver and Caroline Vogl, volunteers Amy and Steve Smith, Jim Bass and Brett Sarver, and Alex Kipman, one of the inventors of the Kinect game system.
— image credit: Photo courtesy of the Arlington Public Schools.

ARLINGTON — The Arlington Public Schools' NeoBots 2903 FIRST Robotics team was recently selected as one of 12 schools's teams from around the world to conduct a beta test using the Kinect game system.

Students from the Arlington NeoBots team have been working closely with their mentors in the Arlington School District, Boeing and Microsoft to develop a software operating system that would allow the Kinect system to operate the NeoBots robot. Through several weeks of software programming and testing with the robotic hardware, the students were able to get their robot to interact with the Kinect system.

The Arlington NeoBot team presented their Kinect beta project at the DigiPen Campus on Nov. 12 to FIRST Robotics teams from throughout the Puget Sound region, and conducted a demonstration during this training session.

On Nov. 17, eight of the Arlington NeoBot students were invited by the Director of Academic Programs at Microsoft to demonstrate their Kinect beta findings at the Microsoft Campus in Redmond.

"The NeoBot students put together an exceptional demonstration of their discoveries between the Kinect game system and the robot," said Andrea Conley, public information officer for the Arlington Public Schools. "Employees from Microsoft, international journalists from around the world and Alex Kipman, one of the inventors of the Kinect game system, were provided with amazing educational interactive demonstrations by the NeoBot students. Several of the international journalists, plus Kipman, were actually given the opportunity to drive the robot using the Kinect game system that the NeoBot students developed. It was an incredible opportunity for our students to show off their stuff, and they were so excited about getting to demonstrate what they had developed."

On Nov. 22, the Arlington NeoBot team had the opportunity to demonstrate its robot with the employees from C&D Zodiac in Marysville, who have sponsored the team by contributing financial assistance, field trip opportunities and manufacturing engineer mentors for the students.

"This has been an incredible partnership and our students had a wonderful time getting to show off their Kinect discoveries," Conley said.

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