W. P. Davidson High school was established in 1960 as a four-year secondary education institution in the Mobile County Public School System. Davidson is fully accredited by SACS (Southeastern Association of Colleges and Schools).
Davidson offers one of the most comprehensive programs available to students in Mobile, Alabama. It became the first public high school in the county to offer a full-time gifted and Advanced Placement program. Davidson was selected as a National Blue Ribbon School in 1990 and again in 1994.
The school's dedicated faculty and administration have won numerous awards, including several National Board Certified Teachers, State Principal of the Year, State Teacher of the Year, and a National Milken Foundation Award winner.
Davidson's Robotics Program coincides with EPIC (Engineering Pathways Integrated Curriculum). Begun in 2004, this program enables students to pursue their career goals through a selection of engineering focused math and science core classes.
While still taking part in high school activities, students work towards either an EPIC major or EPIC minor, resulting in a beneficial introduction to post secondary education.
Because the Robotics team is so greatly influenced by engineering and technology, EPIC serves as a key supporter and sponsor to the students taking part in the competition.
RobotEx was founded in 2004 in Mobile, Alabama as a medical technology provider for BEST Robotics, Inc. Since then, RobotEx has expanded its enterprise to include a range of industrial and commercial applications. Since then, competitive contracting has led RobotEx to develop a production model dependent on current corporate objectives.
From the separation of PCR Primers from the deoxyribonucleotides in 2004 to the collection and creation of alternative fuels in 2009, RobotEx has become a large force in the contracting industry.
Michael Fletcher is one of the sponsors of the Davidson Robotics Team. He has been teaching for 14 years at Davidson High School. He teaches geometry, algebra II with trigonometry, pre-calculus, Math Special Topics, EPIC Infinity Project, and mentorship classes. He has won numerous national awards for his teaching excellence, and he is also a co-author of a University of Chicago geometry textbook that was published and released in 2009.
Jenny Parker is the sponsor of the Robotics Team Notebook and Marketing Committees. She teaches geometry, pre-calculus, and EPIC Infinity Project. With a degree from the University of Alabama School of Law, Ms. Parker provides experience and insight to the team in its operations.
Zachary Brewer is the sponsor and safety advisor for the Construction Committee. He teaches several classes at Davidson that are geared in the math and science direction. He is heavily involved in engineering projects around the school, including the Engineering the Future (ETF) program.
Before beginning design and manufacturing of the robot, RobotEx implemented measures to ensure employee safety. Team members were required to attend a safety training meeting, which included a PowerPoint presentation and a video. See the video below. General guidelines, such as safe behavior in the work area, were covered. Each student was then required to take a test to earn a certification level to use tools. The certification was split into four levels, depending on which safety requirements a member needed to use certain tools. See the chart below.
Please click the image above to see the chart larger.
From safety training, RobotEx employees realized the importance of safety in the workplace. Job Safety Analysis (JSA) sheets were used to clearly delineate the processes required for each task, the hazards inherent to the processes, the risk levels, and the safety procedures required to complete the tasks. Each member and his or her parents signed a safety contract outlining lab and shop safety procedures. RobotEx incentivized safe shop practices by awarding one team member a safety award at the end of the robot construction period. This award was given to Michael Williams for his consistent use of proper personal protective equipment without being reminded and his consistency in cleaning up after his work.
Engineering Design Process
Davidson RobotEx employs the Engineering Design Process to achieve the goal of building a functional robot within the given time period while providing a productive work environment. This method of tracing the development of an idea gives RobotEx members the opportunity to learn about the systematic nature of engineering. The Engineering Design Process used by RobotEx contains five main steps: Game Analysis, Research, Brainstorming, Design Implementation, and Testing. This process is cyclical; each part of the process can be revisited until the final product is achieved. The steps are detailed below.
Step 1: Game Analysis
In game analysis, the team members identify the problem to be solved and the criteria and constraints that must be met. Both mechanical and time-wise constraints for the robot are acknowledged, and the best way to maximize the number of attainable points is calculated. Once the calculations are in place, offensive and defensive strategies are discussed and decided on by the team. These strategies affect the robot design because RobotEx builds its robots to accomplish the specific tasks delineated by the strategy.
Step 2: Research
Before initiating the brainstorming process, RobotEx must fully analyze the constraints of the field and the game pieces. Tests are run with various game pieces and kit parts to determine the limits of their capabilities.
Step 3: Brainstorming
Brainstorming allows students to consider differerent ideas for designs of the robot's parts. The team members contribute ideas and analyze major components of the design. Each idea is evaluated for its function, materials, and other qualities. Members then finalize ideas for designs for different parts of the robot and select designs to implement with the use of Pugh chart analysis.
Step 4: Design Implementation
The selected designs are used for the creation of 3-dimensional computer-aided designs (CAD) in SolidWorks. A modular process is used to model the parts in SolidWorks and attach them in the program. The measurements of the materials necessary for the designs are finalized in SolidWorks before construction of the robot begins.
Step 5: Manufacturing
After designing the robot in SolidWorks, RobotEx constructs the prototype. To cut the pieces, RobotEx uses special tools, such as the CNC machine. Once the robot is complete, a program using RobotC is developed to code the remote control inputs and drive the robot. The program is downloaded onto the Vex Cortex and controlled by a remote. Both designers and drivers have input in creating the program to ensure ease of use and efficiency.
Step 6: Testing
Once the robot is built and programmed, it is tested on a copy of the field built by the team for testing. This practice field is built with the exact properties of the actual BEST game field. The drivers test the robot by executing the planned game strategy. If any problems are encountered, the team goes back through the cyclical process to redesign and improve the robot.
Past Websites - Webmasters
You can visit the past RobotEx websites and learn about the company's past products by visiting the links below. The person who created the website is beside the link.
2006 - Simon Reinert
2007 - Simon Reinert
2008 - Andrew Faggard
2009 - Kirk Smith
2010 - Kirk Smith
2011 - Alissa Hadden, Venu Kunche, and Ron Navarro
Note: Wait until "Click Here to Enter" shows up or just click here.
2012 - Ron Navarro
2013 - Ron Navarro