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US STEM15:27 with Wei Lau
Wei Lau talks about Robotics, STEM and you. Robotics can be used as a platform for inspiring students and making learning fun.
[SOUND] My name is Wei Lau, I'm with US STEM, 0:00 I'm here to talk to you about robotics, STEM, and you. 0:04 So, this is our mission, we want to get more people involved in STEM. 0:10 You know, so it's on our website, it says, 0:15 US STEM's Foundation vision is to grow national talent. 0:17 Get more students becomes, you know, engineers, more responsible citizens. 0:19 But, how I look 0:24 at it, you know, what I really look at it, is, make smarts, really cool, through 0:25 robotic competition. So I have two videos. 0:29 Maybe three. To show you what it is that I do. 0:34 [MUSIC] 0:42 Oops. 0:52 [LAUGH] well, we don't wanna, there's quite a lot of video. 0:54 So, just to show you the next one. 0:58 This one, oh, there's no sound, or I broke the 1:00 sound, but this is one of just robots shooting basketballs. 1:03 And that was in 2012. 1:06 This is 2013 at the National Championships in 1:09 St. Louis where the Rams play in this stadium. 1:12 >> Three, two, one, go! [NOISE] And 1:15 we're off. Final. 1:19 One two, in autonomous! Lots of shots bouncing of the edge of the 1:21 goal. 1:32 Jackson's torque, shoot again, using their four pickups. 1:32 And now the drivers hit. 1:36 >> So those are, what I just showed you were five-foot robots And what 1:39 you saw there was the first 20 1:42 seconds of a competition, where it's fully autonomous. 1:44 Built mostly by students with the help of mentors like you. 1:47 Or, you know, adults like you. 1:52 So why should you do this? 1:55 Well, we have pretty good jobs, and we, we should give back 1:57 to the community, and it's very good for your health to do this. 2:00 You know, medical professionals have said that people 2:02 who give back live longer and are happier. 2:05 But, if you're a little more self centered, you 2:09 want to plan to live to a nice old age. 2:12 Having more STEM professionals means that our economy will 2:14 be stronger, which means, social, there will be more money 2:18 in Social Security. >> [LAUGH] 2:21 >> And that is important, guys. All right? 2:23 You have kids. 2:26 And I know I talked to a few of you, some 2:27 of you have kids, some of you think you're having kids. 2:29 Well, if you get them involved in robotics or, 2:32 or a STEM field, there's a lot of scholarships. 2:35 Like FIRST Robotics has about $3 to $4 million 2:39 dollars worth of scholarships they can't give away because not 2:42 enough kids are are competing at these events. 2:46 I mean, they are giving away 20 million dollars worth 2:51 of scholarship every year, and they still have money left over. 2:53 So there's a lot of money for you know, in scholarships for this. 2:57 Now, you also meet a lot of people. 3:00 Everyone here, you know we're software people mostly. 3:04 And we're afraid of hardware. 3:07 Well the people in the FIRST Robotics team you 3:09 get all kinds. You get business people. 3:11 You get graphics arts people. You get software people. 3:14 And when talking about software people I'm not 3:17 just talking about web developers, you're signal, digital 3:19 signal processing people, analog signal processing people, operating 3:21 system right developers, real times operating system developers. 3:25 Every kind, all kinds of, you know, from 3:29 all walks of life just in the engineering field. 3:31 And then on the other side you also get 3:34 the business people and those are the most 3:36 important people you'll, you'll ever meet because if you 3:39 want to get money from your ideas inside, 3:42 this is the biggest marketing opportunity you'll ever have. 3:44 There is a lot of money when they are involved and see you involved. 3:48 They know you, they're willing to open their wallets to you, to your ideas. 3:52 You can, you will be able to talk to the CEO of Fortune 500 companies. 3:55 If you get involved 4:01 in these events. 4:01 So you know, do, those are some of the ma, 4:03 more materialistic things but I love to play with sensors. 4:06 And, one of the things I, when I've 4:10 done robotics is like, gyros, accelerometers, vision systems. 4:12 You can go to a book and get some of, you know look them up and, whatever. 4:16 But, there are lots of them out there. 4:21 If you go joining the robotics team, you have someone who 4:24 has gone through and figured out, okay what are the easiest sensors 4:26 and that work well that you can, with the lowest barrier to entry. 4:30 Laser cutters, water, you know, cutting with water jets. 4:35 Powder coating robots. 4:38 Mills lathes, all that equipment. Now that's very expensive. 4:40 You can get access to all of that. 4:44 And the most important thing, how much fun did we all have today, or and yesterday? 4:46 Lots right? >> Woo! 4:50 >> Well, we, if you were to join a 4:52 robotics team, you get to have this year round. 4:54 So I mean, how do we do this? 4:59 Though, this is five of some of our biggest programs. 5:03 FIRST Robotics, FIRST Tech Challenge, FIRST 5:06 Lego League, Vex Robotics and Zero Robotics. 5:08 FIRST Robotics is the five foot robot I just showed you. 5:12 FIRST Tech Challenge are the foot and a half 5:15 robots that I'll show you a little later. 5:17 FIRST Lego League, the Lego Mindstorm, I don't know if you, any of you seen that. 5:19 That's what elementary skid, school. 5:23 But it's also great entry-level robot for people who just 5:25 wanna start putting thing, and just getting their hands dirty. 5:28 Vex Robotics is another program out there 5:31 that's similar to, you know, FIRST Tech Challenge. 5:33 And Zero Robotics, if you wanna do 5:35 something different, that's a program by MIT. 5:37 And they provide a simulator for you to control satellites. 5:40 The top 25 or 50, it depends on the year, get to have their 5:43 program be put on a satellite and compete on the International Space Station. 5:48 So, lots of opportunity to have lots of fun. 5:53 So this is one of our FIRST Robots, you know, it's 5:57 about four foot, about four and a half foot that we built. 6:00 I think this was our second year, we built this. 6:03 And we built it to 6:07 capture those inner, those tubes and hang them. 6:09 This is another robot that's similar and we built 6:14 this robot probably about two or three years ago. 6:17 And that's so this is an evolution of learning. 6:21 So one of the things that what we talked 6:25 about was and how afraid we are of electronics. 6:27 I was just like you. 6:30 I'm a software guy at work. I do big data development. 6:31 So I never touched hardware at work. 6:34 So joining this robotics team, I helped build 6:37 this robot right here. 6:39 And so this thing has a, has a li, lift that 6:41 goes all the way up to ten feet and hangs things. 6:44 So in, in this game, the higher you hang, you 6:48 know, so right up there on the right hand side. 6:51 Actually, is that right? 6:55 Yes, that's the right hand side. 6:56 You'll see that there are, there are hooks for them to hang their tubes on. 6:58 So the higher you hang them, the more points you get. 7:01 On the left hand side you'll see a 7:04 really big ball, and so it's a different challenge. 7:06 So every year we have a different challenge. 7:09 It requires you to build a different robot, 7:11 use different skills, and so, that's how big. 7:14 You know, that robot is five feet tall. 7:18 And that's how big, you know, that gives you an 7:20 idea of how big, you know, what they have to manipulate. 7:21 So you're doing something different every year. 7:24 It's not the same thing. 7:25 You're not just building a robot, putting the same code making it move. 7:26 You, you have different challenges. 7:30 And that is the field they're playing on for that well that robot, those balls, 7:33 they're, they're racing the robot around and lifting 7:39 the ball and throwing them over those rails. 7:41 It's more points if you get them over a rail, so different challenge. 7:43 And so this is a robot we built last year to shoot Frisbee and you saw 7:49 that game where they had to, I don't 7:53 know if you noticed but that was fully autonomous. 7:55 Not only did they just shoot the Frisbees and get them in, 7:57 but they also picked up some of the Frisbees off of the ground. 8:00 So there were cameras, vision systems on there. 8:02 And besides shooting the Frisbee, this is a pyramid, 8:07 which they had to climb up with their robots. 8:10 Challenges, you know, different things you can do. 8:13 This is a robot we built two years ago, when we were shooting basketballs. 8:17 So, and so, same thing, different 8:24 robot, different challenges, different types of fun. 8:26 So, these are our kids. 8:29 And you can see them screaming. 8:33 And, oh. 8:35 Out of the, the adults in the background are a little out of focus, but they're 8:36 also jumping up and down as they won 8:40 the national, this is actually an international event. 8:42 We get teams from China, Australia, Japan, Israel, 8:45 England, all over the world. 8:49 So they're screaming because they just won the national championship. 8:52 So the one thing is, we will always play harder than we will work. 8:57 And so, we're, and how do we make science technology engineering fun? 9:01 I just showed you, you know, all the games they play, and everything they did. 9:05 So, Lego Mindstorm, the entry level robot. 9:11 And these 9:14 are the elementary school kids. 9:14 Slightly older. 9:18 Those were, you know, first grade 9:19 kindergarten, this is second, third fourth graders. 9:21 And even when they get into middle school we can't seem to stop them. 9:24 We turn, you know, they still want to play. 9:29 And they are playing on 93 inch, 7 foot 9:30 by 3 foot table, and the, and the Lego robots. 9:36 As they grow older we get them to play on 9:40 foot and a half robots. 9:44 So, so this, this, some of the robots that the kids, we helped the kids build. 9:47 And they're playing on 12 foot fields. Oh, so remember that, 9:52 that little girl I showed you earlier? They grow up, they don't lose. 9:58 They don't get inhibited. 10:03 They become fully formed adults who have, who 10:05 have no shame and are really out there. 10:08 So oh but, if you know, playing a robot on 10:12 the ground isn't for you, we also have Seaperch so don't, 10:14 that's underwater robotics. 10:17 So we have teams that are building robots to pick up things. 10:19 Or, they make a tradeoff, and they built, on the bottom, they built 10:23 robots, they changed the design and make a robot that can go fast. 10:27 But, one of the hardest thing we have here, 10:33 is, you know, we're afraid to play with hardware. 10:35 Well, this is a chance to really play with hardware. 10:38 You can go into these schools, ask a 10:41 software person, get trained up on mills and 10:43 lathes and it won't cost you any money 10:47 and they'll more than welcome have you come there. 10:49 And all you have to do is provide your expertise in software. 10:52 I think it's a pretty good trade off. 10:55 So everyone can build. These are some of our students. 10:59 You know, they never touched a drill in their life. 11:01 Girls, not only boys can do this. Girl, we get girls that do it, too. 11:03 You'll see the students, that they're staying up late at 11:07 night, and this is what you can do to help them. 11:10 Oh, pneumatics. 11:13 Some of you guys are involved in home automation, 11:14 and you're building and you're, you know, using servos. 11:17 Pneumatics can provide a lot more power. You afraid of pneumatics? 11:21 This is a great place to learn how to play with pneumatics. 11:25 This, you know, it's for you. 11:28 Remember physics? 11:30 Some of you might have thought this was 11:32 challenging or been afraid, or you had kids who 11:33 had thought it was challenging and you're having 11:35 a hard time of getting them to do this. 11:37 Well, it's not a problem if they had to shoot 11:40 a basketball and if, learn those equations, it means points. 11:43 Just like some kids, you know, spend hours 11:47 practice, you know dribbling, practice dribbling ball. 11:50 They also spend hours mastering those equation, and the friction, 11:52 in real world real world events, just to deal with it. 11:55 Real world conditions. 12:01 That's what I meant to say. 12:03 Algebra, some, you know, there's so many people say what good is algebra? 12:04 Something as a simple ratio allows you to figure 12:09 out, combine that with a camera, and changes in images, 12:12 allows you to figure exactly where you are. 12:16 We have robots with cameras on them. 12:18 They take pictures, reflective tape. 12:20 Just by looking at changes in pictures, they know exactly what to do. 12:22 Programming math, on the bottom right hand 12:27 side, that is a student-built radar screen. 12:30 Using the camera, and using the reflective images, they were able 12:34 to figure out exactly where every other robot was on the field. 12:37 So what we're 12:40 involved with is mainstreaming smarts. Teaching kids to compete. 12:41 Though some of the kids who are smart. 12:45 You know, they don't get an opportunity to be on a team. 12:47 We provide an opportunity for them to be on a team, to learn teamwork. 12:49 And by making part, you know? 12:54 You have, in order to be successful in these competitions. 12:55 You have to be smart. 12:58 You have to do your homework. 12:59 You have to listen to your teachers. 13:00 And, the, in order, and, to get to, to make these tradeoffs, and 13:03 it teaches them all of that. You know, good design. 13:07 So this, this is some, what we get. 13:09 This, these are the students we get. Chess players. 13:12 You know, everyone expects that. 13:15 Well we get football players on our team. We get the basketball players. 13:18 We get wallflowers, people who are shy. 13:22 We get A students, oh, we also get some F students, by the way. 13:25 We get girls, we get all of them. 13:29 At the end of the, at the end of the day, our results are, they go to college. 13:32 Their grades improve and most of them actually, almost 13:37 all of them, get scholarships to go to college. 13:41 And the most, and the most 13:45 important thing, they become very confident individuals. 13:46 Why do this? 13:50 These are the kids and thi, this is, this happens 13:51 every year in April as they jump up and cheer. 13:54 But besides that, they also show this kind of, you 13:58 know, love for us everyday we go and mentor them. 14:01 So oh, robotics goes places. 14:05 I don't know if you watch the Macy's Fourth of July Parade but 14:07 our robots were at the Fourth of July parade at the very beginning. 14:11 So for you guys, if you know software, you 14:16 have no hardware experience, and you want to learn some. 14:19 Or it's the opposite, which, you know, and, and you have little, oh, I forgot 14:22 to put software there, little or no software 14:27 experience, a robotics team is perfect for you. 14:28 It brings together all kinds of people. 14:31 And so these are about our opportunities. You know, we have a robotics program. 14:35 If you wanna get involved, you know, in programming, 14:39 building, web, web design, public speaking, research support, 14:41 graphics arts, business, our programs touch all of that. 14:45 And so, some of you are gonna talk to me about starting a US local STEM chapter. 14:51 Is to help with your robotics program. 14:56 You can do that and I want to thank you for listening to me. 14:58 This is our website. 15:03 And I will be here all day to talk with all any of 15:04 you that are interested in getting involved with starting a US 15:06 STEM team or getting involved with mentoring with your local robotics team. 15:10 Your robotics team, there are robotics team all over the country. 15:15 So there are opportunities to do this everywhere, no matter where you are. 15:18 Thank you. [NOISE] 15:22
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