Monday, November 19, 2012

Solarcraft Tour

On Wednesday (11/14/12), Spectrum had the opportunity to tour the Solarcraft Inc. facility. Solarcraft ( is a local company that makes power products for critical electronics equipment in remote areas. They will be assisting us with the manufacturing of our robot in the 2013 FRC season.

Team Photo in front of their laser cutter

Each of the students on the trip was able to operate the 130 ton CNC break. 

Our students were also able to drive the Segway that they had on site.

It was a very informative trip as the students had a chance to see the design and construction process of several of their products. It's amazing how similar it is to an FRC robot build process. 
CAD -> construction -> parts installation -> wiring -> testing

Thank you to Solarcraft for being such generous hosts and we can't wait to work with them more this season.

- Spectrum

"Some luck lies in not getting what you thought you wanted but getting what you have, which once you have got it you may be smart enough to see is what you would have wanted had you known." - Garrison Keillor

Canstruction Houston 2012

Spectrum competed in the 2012 Canstruction Houston event this year. Five of our team members worked with architects from Wallace Garcia Wilison Architects to design and construct a sculpture out of canned food. The goal of the program is to raise awareness for the problem of hunger in our local community. Over 100,000 cans of food were donated to the Houston Food Bank at the conclusion of the event.

Michaela Lydon, Micaela Williams, Meron Wonderad, Sarah Shaw, Laura Mason, Alex Garcia (WGW Architects)

Our team's sculpture was of a Jackalope. Below you can see the final structure and the initial sketch of the design.

Below is the sign that was displayed next to the sculpture to explain why the Jackalope represents the problems of hunger.

Thank you to Canstruction Houston, Kroger Groceries, A&E- The Graphics Complex and especially Wallace Garcia Wilson Architects for supporting our efforts in this year's Canstruction Houston event. We're looking forward to doing it again next year.

- Spectrum

“Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It’s not.” - Dr. Seuss

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Houston VEX League Finale

The Houston VEX League Finale was this past weekend, November 9-10th, 2012. Spectrum's two robots 3847A and 3847J both competed very well. They ended up seeded 9th and 14th respectively. 3847A was an alliance captain of the 7th seeded alliance and 3847J was the first pick of the 6th seeded alliance captain.

3847J made it to the semifinals and lost to two teams from Pasadena.

Congratulations to Pasadena ISD (231C) for being ranked #1 and qualifying for World Championships and Austin Middle School (1412C) and Awty International School (4128A) for winning the tournament and qualifying for World Championships.

3847J Match 10

3847A Match 23

In the skills challenges 3847A is ranked 16th in the world in programming skills with 45 points and 38th in the world in driver skills with 105 points. The top 30 teams on March 3rd, 2013 in each challenge category qualify for the World Championships.

Spectrum members volunteered as referees and score keepers for this event.

Allen Gregory, our Coach and Head Referee for Houston VEX, was awarded the Volunteer of the Year award for the Houston League.

On a different note we also had a demonstration at the National Society of Women Engineers Conference on Friday (11/9/12). We talked about FRC and the benefits of mentors to educational programs.

- Spectrum

"Act as if what you do makes a difference. It does." - William James

Monday, November 5, 2012

Community Day 2012

This Saturday (11/3) Spectrum spent the day interacting with our Houston community.

We started the day by volunteering at the Houston Food Bank we helped provide over 21,000 meals to the Houston community. Team members assembled "Backpack Buddy" bags for students that may not have enough to eat each weekend. This food takes the place of the school breakfast and lunch they normally get during the school week. We also helped package food boxes that are distributed to senior citizens at the end of each month. Often these seniors have limited budgets and have to make tough choices at the end of the month, these food boxes allow them to get though the month without going hungry.

After we finished at the Houston Food Bank we stopped by the Last Organic Outpost farm, an urban farm near downtown Houston that is experimenting with building local food systems. We volunteered here over the summer and wanted to see how our work is paying off.

We had a nice team dinner at Irma's in downtown Houston. Irma was fantastic and she made the team feel right at home.

Our last stop of the Day was to TX/RX Labs (, the Houston Hackerspace. They were hosting an open house for Houston FRC teams to show how they can help us during build season. They will be providing access to their tools and free training classes for Houston area teams.

Overall it was an awesome day helping our community and spreading our message across Houston.

- Spectrum

"It's not that successful people are givers; it is that givers are successful people."  - Patti Thor