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ENGINEERING A NEW JAMAICA – ONE SCHOOL AT A TIME


The Digital Yard Innovation Project presents a vision and an execution model for a future Jamaica where our children have a culture of fascination for science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM). The Digital Yard Tech Challenge, our robotics competition, will be operated and hosted by UTech, our Academic Partner. This is our initial program which combines STEM skills and competition… using Robots that school children design, program and build themselves. The mission is to get children excited about science and technology.  Target Group:

Secondary School students

 What:

Robotics Competition with mentoring from UTECH Faculty of Engineering students

 Goal:

Design and build of robot to enter the 2013 Robotics competition and annually

 Success Factor:

Collaborative design and build of Robots


Robotics requires many disciplines that are integral to the development of valuable technical skills: • • • • • • • • • •

COOPERATIVE TEAMWORK MATH & SOFTWARE PROFICIENCY PROGRAMMING DEVELOPMENT CONSTRUCTION DESIGN MECHANICAL ENGINEERING ELECTRICAL ENGINEERING ELECTRONIC ENGINEERING RESEARCH PROBLEM SOLVING CRITICAL THINKING

These skills are learned by students participating in robotics while they are experiencing the tremendous fun and excitement of creating intelligent machines - to compete against other students and rival schools.


Research in the United States indicates the following outcomes for students participating in Digital Yard Tech Challenge type Robotics Competition compared to a control group of academically similar students not involved in robotics: • More than 3 times as likely to major in engineering in college • Roughly 10 times as likely to have had an apprenticeship, internship, or co-op job in their freshman year. • Significantly more likely to expect to achieve a post graduate degree. • More than twice as likely to expect to pursue a career in science and technology. • Nearly 4 times as likely to expect to pursue a career specifically in engineering. • More than twice as likely to volunteer in their communities


• Increased numbers of students choosing science, technology and engineering studies and careers • Businesses started or enhanced by our students

• Siemens CAD Industry certification of our students. This program will be introduced in Phase 2. • Raising of the technical skill level of youth motivated by our programs. This will enable increased levels of productivity and wealth generation.


• Since 2009 Digital Yard has consulted in robotics program development with US FIRST, the leading promoter of school based robotics in the USA. In 2009-2010 Digital Yard provided technical advice for a Robotics Program at Jamaica College based on the US FIRST Tech Challenge (FTC).

• The JC program is our national pilot for high school based robotics. This pilot program is extremely successful with more than 100 students exposed to robotics in 3 years. JC enters and places well in competition with US high schools in FIRST Robotics regional finals annually in New York.

• The entire student body, academic staff, administration, PTA and alumni of JC is energized by the Robotics Club and their achievements. The JC robot has been featured on TV shows like Smile Jamaica on several occasions.


• Digital Yard Tech Challenge is similar to the FIRST Tech Challenge with a common kit of parts from which schools will design and construct robots to compete in a game developed and managed by UTech. • Participating schools will compete against each other or in school alliances as dictated by the Game

• Digital Yard has strong relations with Siemens and their Solid Edge CAD solution is available for free download by students. Students who use this CAD tool to model their robot or aspects of its operations will be awarded points • Music and entertainment provide an exciting and attractive environment.... Banners, Flags, Cheering Squads etc.

• A Career Fair is planned with Colleges and Businesses promoting opportunities in technology for the students


US FIRST ROBOTICS FINALS – DIGITAL YARD MODEL COMPETITION


• UTECH IS A DIGITAL YARD ROBOTICS ACADEMIC PARTNER VIA AGREEMENT WITH THE FACULTY OF ENGINEERING & COMPUTING

• UTECH WILL ORGANIZE AND HOST THE INAUGURAL DIGITAL YARD TECH CHALLENGE IN 2013

• EACH SECONDARY SCHOOL WILL HAVE A UTECH TECHNICAL TRAINER/MENTOR ASSIGNED

• STUDENTS FROM THE UTECH BRANCH OF THE INSTITUTE OF ELECTRICAL & ELECTRONIC ENGINEERS ARE THE OPERATIONAL LEADERS OF THE ROBOTICS COMPETITION


• Senior school leadership should be sold on value of robotics- It’s essential to have support at the highest level due to the large commitment in time & resources required for a Robotics Club. • Appoint 2 members of the academic staff as Robotics Coordinator and Deputy Coordinator. A science background is good but their commitment to the task is all important. Coordinators are responsible for the entire Robotics Club operations and should develop written Club Rules & Regulations and operational practices as they get experience • Determine academic & administrative oversight of the Coordinators according to traditions at the school


• Coordinators will be guided by UTech Mentors on technical aspects of DYTC robotics- The basic techniques involved in designing, building and operating a competitive robot

• Identify secure space to be used by the Club – Ideally a dedicated room ~250 sq. ft. – If a dedicated space is unavailable, a room which can be used by the Club for the Robotics Competition season Oct-Feb is ok. The room will host a 12”X 12” Game Field a few desks & chairs, tools and 2-3 laptop computers . • Select 10-15 students to be active Club members – many others can be supporters. It’s important to get different age groups (say 3rd to 6th Formers) involved in the program for continuity- so knowledge & skills are passed on year by year and not lost


• Active Club members are responsible for understanding the technology for designing, programming and building the robot, understanding the game, & operating the robot in competition • Coordinators will provide discipline and adult supervision for students • UTech Mentors will provide technical guidance including use of UTech technical and engineering facilities where possible • Once the game is released in October, the Club members should be prepared to meet at least twice per week with the possibility that late hours or even weekends may be required to successfully design, build and test the robot for competition in February which is the tentative target month


• The team can have: CAD Architects, Software Programmers, Engineers/Builders and Drivers/Operators. 2-4 members each. • Other students and other Departments of the school can and should be involved in the Robotics Program. • A Fundraising Committee which should involve the technical team building the robot but can include other students e.g. Business Students • The school will be competing against other rivals so promotion of the school is critical. A Promotions Committee doing T-Shirts, Mascots, Banners, Music should be set up- possibly involving the Art & Music Departments • Community support is critical. This can be enhanced by an outreach program via a PR Committee. Media outreach can get coverage in newspapers, radio etc. When the robot is built it can be demonstrated at community events, PTA and Alumni meetings and at a “Robotics Open House” at school for example. This will make fundraising easier and more effective


• • • • • • • •

Robotics Standard Kit of Parts Shipping Additional parts (optional - based on robot design) Game Field construction Tools – basic Robot Operation Software Tournament Registration Misc.

$1100 $150 $300 $250 $100 $150 $250 $300

Total:

$2600

*** Be advised that these are preliminary estimates and are subject to change in program costs and supplier pricing as well as variances due to individual situations and choices. Teams may experience greater or lesser costs than the estimates suggested.


• Robots are broken down after competition and parts re-used for the next year’s competition. So the Kit is a one-time purchase. However teams may choose to optionally purchase an additional kit or parts. • The Game Field can be constructed as a school project involving the TD/Woodworking or can be purchased and shipped from the US • Basic tools like screwdrivers, hacksaws etc. are needed. There may be a need for simple machining. UTech has facilities and may be helpful. Schools should look to community or alumni contacts to get access to a local machine shop • The estimates don’t specifically cover transportation to the competition hosted by UTech or to possible need for subsistence & accommodation for teams outside Kingston. These costs may or may not be addressed under “misc.” • Because the bulk of the purchases are one-time items for reuse, the following year’s costs will be far less than the startup year-maybe US$1200/year


• Our developmental model is self-help. Digital Yard provides the platform and technical advice. Schools are expected to engage their PTA, local community and alumni to raise the required funds – just as is done with sporting events like Champs or Manning/DaCosta Cup competition • Depending on resource availability Digital Yard may be able to assist needy or disadvantaged schools upon request. We are committed to inclusion. • Digital Yard has strong relations with US-based, Jamaican alumni associations. We can help to convince them of the great value of this program and motivate them to get involved with financial support upon request • Promotion, PR and media attention are critical to generate support. Please see our suggestions in “How to Operate a Robotics Club”


• Responsible school official to sign a preliminary Memorandum of Understanding with Digital Yard indicating a firm intent to participate once our commitments are met • The school should then formally set up a Robotics Club as described earlier • DYTC Application forms will be available in May 2012 and should be signed and returned – participation in the inaugural DYTC will be limited to 8-10 schools

• Application fees and Robotics Kit costs are currently being negotiated & finalized – Final details will be available with the Application Form in May.

• The Competition is scheduled for early 2013 & our game will be released in October 2012 • At the moment Digital Yard is US-based but is currently filing to establish a Jamaican Foundation expected to be incorporated 2012. We can be contacted at: • Email:digitalyard@live.com


See you at the 2013 Digital Yard Tech Challenge! Powered by UTech!!


Digital Yard Robotics