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I became a mentor for the local high school robotics team about 3 years ago when my son joined the team as an 8th grader. I was so happy he was "called up" from middle school to join the high school team! My son brought me to the "robotics lair" and I met the team and the other mentors.

Since then, robotics has become a passion. I've always loved the intersection of hardware and software, although my background is primarily software. I have learned so many things, and of course, the more I learn the more I realize there is to learn.

I have dedicated countless hours to robotics in the years since. I will talk about some of the things we've done, challenges we as a team face (and me personally).

I hope to not embarrass my son too much, but you know, sometimes, that just naturally happens.

My background: I have been making things since I was maybe 4. My parents had few working electronics in the house until I was about 10 when I figured out how to put things back together. My father was never much for building anything, so at a very young age, I took over that role. By the time I was 13, I was helping my mother renovate houses, tearing apart lawn mowers and putting them back together.

In high school I continued building/making things - including a hovercraft for physics club with my best friend John Halamka. Many many chemistry experiments that resulted in singed eyebrows and ringing ears. And of course, I built my first computer (z80, s100, CP/M). Learning to write BASIC on a computer I built was great and inspired my later career. I was also introduced to the world of radio control in the form of sail planes. I built a few, bought a few and flew throughout high school.

Fast forward to post college, and I've remodeled houses (a lifelong passion), built and raced cars semi-professionally, built countless computers, run data centers and engineering teams that built some of the first websites (, gigantic collaboration sites (java developers sites), etc. During this time I tinkered around with various electronics and different R/C vehicles. Boats, planes, helicopters, and cars of various sorts. Crashing and repairing the vehicles is a regular thing and taught me quite a lot about how things are built and interact with the environment, all of which became incredibly useful when I started working on robots.

I find I really like the juncture of hardware and software. Coaxing the last little bit of performance out of a system, or making a machine do the seemingly impossible is incredibly interesting to me.

Follow my trials and tribulations as I work with a small robotics group - someday I hope to make this area my career, but for now, it's just a hobby!


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