MEF Grant

This year our school sent out an email in March regarding the availability of Microgrants for items teachers may need. The microgrants are worth up to $200. We were promised a 1-2 week turnaround for requests, so I immediately applied. Unfortunately, I did not hear back for some time. And even when I did, it was unclear when the funds would be provided to us. To make a long, boring story short, I finally received the funds and was able to order new soldering stations for our students. A 1-2 week turnaround became about 3 months, annoying, but I am happy it all worked out. A few photos of a student using the new soldering stations.

Robotics Club

I completely forgot to post about the Robotics Club, which Mr. Christy and myself are the moderators. To be fair, Mr. Christy spends much more time with the students, often staying until 8 or 9pm with them during the buildup to a recent contest. This year, the team participated in the MATE ROV competition, which is an underwater rover robot event. The event was at the Massachusetts Maritime Academy on the Cape, and we were there early in the morning. The contest was a little disorganized, and the start time was quite delayed. But that gave our team plenty of time to prepare and organize, since this was our first time at the event. We had two stints in the water with the robot, and the team learned a great deal from the day. Fortunately, we won! Out of the 4 scoring categories, we took 3 of them. We were completely surprised, but very happy for our students.

This means the team will now compete in the international event held in Long Beach, California. Mr. Christy has spent a lot of energy working on corporate sponsorship, and at this time we have raised nearly $20,000 to get the team to California, as well as created ongoing sponsorships for years to come. It’s been a great success, and no matter what happens in Long Beach, the team is going to get better and better each year. Unfortunately, neither myself or Mr. Christy will be able to attend the event in California, so a couple of parent chaperones will go with our team. I’ve posted a few photos below of the team and the rover. Unfortunately, it is very difficult to get any good video of the rover underwater!


Not sure how these stops and starts happen, but I’m planning to be back on track for daily writing. I guess this time it was my brother’s wedding, which required travel across the country and interrupted my schedule. Or I’m lazy.

Our students are in their last month or so of school, and are working on a variety of interesting projects. Juniors and Seniors have cardboard boats under construction, while the Sophomores are just finishing their Sumobots. They had their first contest with them yesterday, and will have some time to learn from the contest and rework the bots. Additionally, we have some metal signs being finished from our waterjet machine, as well as a lasercut wood barrel top for a local distillery. Lastly, we finally hung up our Tetris game in the front lobby of the school. It looks great, and is getting a lot of attention. Some images below.

Pi Radio March Update

A quick update on the Pi Radio, since it has been a few weeks when it was last mentioned. It works, however, still waiting on the code to get it to function when power is applied, rather than having to SSH into the Pi and manually start the code. My co-teacher is helping with this, so once he is able to make it work, we should be able to package everything up and finalize everything. For now, here are some photos of the volume and tuning knobs wired to the Pi.

Pi Radio Sound

Worked on the Pi Radio today. Needed to do some soldering to create a 3.5 TS audio jack to a 2 pin connector for an amplifier. I used a Raspberry Pi as a 5v power source since it was just sitting at my desk. The audio jack is plugged into my computer speakers and is now playing sound through the speaker in the Emerson radio.

Next thing to do is make sure the code on the Raspberry Pi is working correctly and plug the audio jack into it. I will make final connections for the digital encoders and then take everything apart of repaint the casing. Getting very close. Here is a short video of some audio coming from the radio.