On Saturday, October 22nd, the Princeton Plasma Physics Lab hosted their Science and Technology Merit Badge Fair. More than 250 Boy Scouts from troops across New Jersey and Pennsylvania gathered together to take part in hands-on activities to earn badges in robotics, chemistry, and even fire safety! The MidKnight Inventors were in charge of handling the Robotics Merit Badge from start to finish. Leading up to the fair, MidKnight Inventors worked on building a maze and organizing legos in order for the Boy Scouts to build a Mindstorms EV3 robot. Students from The MidKnight Inventors gave presentations to the Boy Scouts on robotics and how it applies to education and the real world. Then, the Boy Scouts worked in small teams to build and program the robots in order to navigate the maze. Throughout the day, the Boy Scouts learned the fundamentals of EV3 Build & Programming while earning their robotics badges. We’re proud to be a part of the PPPL Merit Badge Fair and have enjoyed the annual opportunity to reach out to the younger community. We hope we’ll see these Boy Scouts on one of our FIRST teams soon!
On Tuesday, August 2nd, the West Windsor Police Department hosted an event called National Night Out in order to strengthen the bond between residents and the police force. Initially created as a method of crime prevention in 1984, the event allows local organizations as well as the fire and police departments to interact in a fun environment with food, music, and activities. The MidKnight Inventors were invited to West Windsor Community Park to demo our 2016 robot, Knightmare. Our MidKnight FTC teams also demoed their own robots, providing a wonderful outreach and fundraising opportunity for both teams.
More than five hundred people had the opportunity to interact with different robots, learn about our team, FIRST, and its message. Parents and students were excited to learn about the team and how they could get involved. Moreover, the students met and spoke with Mayor Shing-Fu Hsueh and several board members who stopped by the booths to express their support. Overall, the event was a great success in gaining support from the community and bringing exposure to the team.
On Friday, July 22nd, The MidKnight Inventors hosted a demo for Adventures Day Camp, a summer camp for elementary to middle school kids from around the West-Windsor Plainsboro area. For most of these students, it was their first time being exposed to robotics and FIRST, and The MidKnight Inventors were proud to introduce them to the exciting world of science, technology, engineering, and math.
These students had the opportunity to meet our FRC team as well as two FTC teams, Team 9042 and Team 9927. The kids were ecstatic to play with past robots: RoBart (our frisbee shooter from 2013) and Knightmare (our 2016 Stronghold robot). MidKnight Inventors greatly enjoyed working with kids to “feed” and play catch with RoBart in addition to showcasing Knightmare’s abilities. Other activities included FTC robot demos, pin the tail on the zebra, and manipulating a robot claw to win candy. Despite the heat and humidity, the event was a success for all parties.
This Saturday marks the last session of tool certification for students on our two FTC teams, The MidKnight Magic (Team 9042) and The MidKnight Magic Too (Team 9927). FTC tool certification is a series of build sessions in which students are given a CAD drawing of a part and instructed by FRC student mentors in the construction of said part.
This year, students mounted polyethylene blocks with bearing holes onto a piece of Lexan; in the process, they learned how to use basic hand tools like rulers and deburrers as well as power tools like cordless drills, the drill press, jigsaw, and bandsaw. The students were also taught basic safety procedures to prevent accidents and injuries in our build site. The CAD drawings used in the exercise can be found in the ‘Resources’ section. We hope to repeat the success of these certifications with our FRC students and continue to incorporate hands-on sessions within MidKnight University (our introductory program for new students) in the fall.
The MidKnight Inventors recently displayed our robot, Knightmare, for Goldman Sachs officials at the Goldman Sachs Tech Expo. As a team, we put a tremendous amount of emphasis on making relationships with our sponsors and community, and jump at the opportunity to get more people involved with robotics. The tech exposition for Goldman Sachs was one such opportunity. Goldman Sachs has generously supported Team 1923 this year and we are extremely grateful for it.
Reaching out to our community is always a priority for the MidKnight Inventors; this exposition provided us with the opportunity to not only express our gratitude to sponsors but also promote the values of FIRST to their employees. We thank our friends at Goldman Sachs for this experience and their continued support to the team.
On Saturday, June 25th, The MidKnight Inventors hosted our fourth annual off-season event, MidKnight Mayhem, at West-Windsor Plainsboro High School North. This year, 37 teams competed in a modified version of the FRC 2016 game, Stronghold, and the MidKnight Inventors event reached over one thousand people from in and outside our community. It was a huge success for the team and the best year yet for our off-season event. A big thanks to all the families who donated their time and all our local sponsors for their donations. This event would not have been possible without them.
Congratulations to the winning alliance: 225 TechFire, 1640 Sab-BOT-age, 2607 The Fighting RoboVikings, 4954 Palindrome Robotics and thank you to everyone who attended. MidKnight Mayhem IV was a big success, and The MidKnight Inventors hope to see you all back for an even better MidKnight Mayhem V!
On May 20th The MidKnight Inventors hosted our annual Robo Expo! The outreach event was an open house for the entire community to come take a look at our previous robots like RoBART (2013) and MKI: X (2015). Our affiliated FTC teams, The MidKnight Magic and The MidKnight Magic Too, also had their robots on display. In addition, our younger attendees were also given the opportunity to try driving a practice robot. As if the event attendees weren’t excited enough, MidKnight Inventors also demoed our 2016 competition robot, Knightmare. The robot was driven around in the gym, and even shot balls into a basketball hoop!
The event took place at one of our local elementary schools, Millstone River School. Team members met with students interested in joining any of our teams and got people excited about FIRST. The outreach event resulted in a very positive response from the community. We received a considerable amount of signups from students interested in joining one of our MidKnight teams – anywhere from Jr. FLL through FRC.
On April 27th, FRC 1923, The MidKnight Inventors, traveled to St. Louis to compete at the World Championship, for the 5th time in our 11 year history! Our team competed on the Archimedes Division along with other top tier robots from around the world. We entered the Playoffs with the 6th seeded alliance: 1318 Issaquah Robotics Society from Issaquah, Washington, 1310 Runnymede Robotics from Toronto, Canada, and 4103 The Roborioles from Avon, Indiana. We left the Championship as Division Quarterfinalists.
St. Louis was our final major competition of the 2016 season, and it was an amazing experience. Our achievements this year as a team were truly remarkable, from winning the Entrepreneurship Award at Montgomery to securing the Chairman’s Award at both district and regional levels to being part of the quarterfinals at Championships. We hope that 2017 will be an even stronger and more successful season, but until then, we will continue to work hard for our upcoming off-season events.
On April 14-16, Team 1923 The MidKnight Inventors travelled to Lehigh University in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania to compete in the Mid-Atlantic Region District Championship. We qualified for the regional by winning the Chairman’s award at the Mt. Olive district competition. During the competition, we won the most prestigious award in FIRST – the Chairman’s award.
The Chairman’s award is awarded to a team that embodies the vision and goals of FIRST, as well as best represents a model for other teams to follow. Some of the outreach and FIRST activities we were noted for are mentoring and starting numerous FIRST teams, establishing an excellent connection with the school district, hosting our own FRC off season event MidKnight Mayhem, and working day and “knight” to spread FIRST in the community. In fact, one of the FRC teams we mentored, team 5666 Purple Lightning, won the spirit award in only their second year of competition. The Chairman’s award qualifies us for the FIRST national championship in St. Louis, where we will compete with other Chairman’s award winners to become a FIRST Hall of Fame team. Hall of Fame teams are winners of the Chairman’s award at the worlds level, and automatically qualify to the world championship every year.
Huge congratulations go out the students, mentors, parents, and especially the Chairman’s team and presenters. This is the first time the MidKnight Inventors will be competing for Chairman’s at worlds!
Our next competition is the FIRST Championship in St. Louis from April 27 – May 1, and will feature teams from the around the world. This is the first time we have qualified for Worlds in two consecutive years, marking an important point in our team’s history. We are extremely excited for this opportunity and we can’t wait to compete!
On the Sunday of our second week of FRC build season, The MidKnight Inventors were proud to help host our first ever FTC Full Day Meet, Magic Mayhem.
The event took place at Millstone River School and was hosted by FTC teams The MidKnight Magic and The MidKnight Magic Too, with 21 teams from New Jersey competing at the event.
The MidKnight Inventors are proud to host competitions at every level of FIRST programs, including FRC offseason MidKnight Mayhem, Jr. FLL Showcase and FLL State Qualifier Minion Mayhem, and now Magic Mayhem. We host these events to encourage local students and parents to get involved in a multitude of programs, and connect with FIRST in New Jersey.