NPHS Pantherbotics

Launching Tomorrow's Innovators, Today!

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Robot demonstration at Sandbox Summer Camp.

The Panterhbotics Club has been in operation in one form or another since 2007 as an activity dedicated to stimulating interest in science, technology, engineering and mathematics. As an extracurricular activity we replace lectures with one on one mentoring from volunteer professionals, we replace homework with hands on projects, and we replace testing with competitions. Robotics has become a popular vehicle for promoting technical interest, in that it combines mechanics, electronics, sensor technology and embedded software, in a dynamic form that has the ability to capture the imagination of students. It also provides a natural exposure to a variety of practical skills such as basic manual and CNC machining, wiring, electronics testing and programming. With our own dedicated (though small) laboratory, we can design, build and test complex electromechanical machines. We currently participate in two major competitions. These competitive events provide a technical focus, a disciplined timeline, and standards for comparison and evaluation. They give the students the chance to meet and share ideas with a broader community of kindred spirits, and have a lot of fun. There are also a large number of college scholarships offered specifically for participants in these competitions. Our program includes off season projects, workshops, seminars and tutorials, as well as service and outreach to the local community.

Vex Robotics Competition:
For this competition, sponsored by Vex Robotics Inc., participants are given a standard kit of erector set-like parts, and they are not allowed to include any other components. Although this limits the design creativity somewhat, it also helps limit the cost as only simple hand tools are needed and no laboratory or machine shop is required. Teams of 3-5 students are able to construct their own robot. Competitions occur throughout the year with a national championship in April. The kits are available any time, so that students can develop their own projects and build basic skills in the off season.
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NPHS with alliance partners at Walnut Hills Nov 2013

Programming award Chadwick tournament Dec 2013

FIRST Robotics Challenge (the big bots):
This competition sponsored by the FIRST foundation (For Inspiration and Respect for Science and Technology)
It is characterized by:
  1. A larger platform (120 lbs),
  2. Open design (machine your own parts)
  3. Intense time pressure (6 weeks start to finish).
The large open platform encourages the students to learn more advanced design and fabrication techniques of modern machine engineering. The time pressure requires specialization and a larger team structure. For this competition, we often collaborate with students from Thousand Oaks, Westlake, and LaReina, pooling our resources to form several working groups, e.g. software, electronics, mechanical design
It also requires a significantly larger budget. The cost of this program requires us to seek commercial sponsorship.

Team 3863 at the 2014 FIRST LA Regional

While the school system provides the use of the classrooms and machine shop, and the teachers and industrial mentors donate their time for the program, there are considerable additional expenses. The funding comes from independent contributions from individuals and local industrial sponsors. A typical annual budget is: ~
Kits tools and materials ~ 5,000$
Competition Registration fees :FRC ~ 6,000$
VEX ~ 500$
Travel (national championships) ~ 2,000$
T shirts, public relations materials ~ 500$
Total: ~ 14,000
Past and current sponsors have included :

BAE Systems
HAAS Automation
ITT Technical Institute
Royal Staffing
US Army
Amgen Corp
J.C. Penny

Unfortunately many companies have policies against multi-year sponsorship, and with the economy in recession, many have terminated charitable activities altogether. We are currently actively seeking sponsors for the 2014-2015 season. In addition to our undying gratitude, major sponsors can gain considerable public relations good will, in that they will have their name and/or logo displayed on both the robot and team T shirts at all competitions and be acknowledged in public relations literature distributed by the team. Competitions can draw over 1000 participants. For technology companies this represents a highly targeted group of potential employees, or customers. We are also frequently called upon to make presentations before such groups as the board of education, city council IEEE and various local civic groups.
Anyone interested in becoming a sponsor, or participating as a mentor or supporter, should contact:

Chuck Seabury Mentor
Michael Weingarden Newbury Park HS

We are currently operating as a tax exempt entity under the umbrella of the Conejo Valley Unified School District foundation system.