So the weekend before Worlds I was in Ann Arbor with my son at the campus visit weekend for University of Michigan. In the morning, we were waiting for the session to start and he got a FaceTime request from his younger brother who was home with the robot running programming testing to discuss some changes.
What happened next was a microcosm of what this team is about. Rob - the other team captain was in Florida and texts and joins on FaceTime on David's phone. So there are two open FaceTime streams in my hotel room. Andy has his phone on the field floor and is allowing the two boys to watch - David direct and Rob who is looking at the screen through David's phone. He would run the robot - tell them what he was seeing. David had the code up on his screen and would make a change and use this cloud based version control system used by all professional programmers called GitHub. Once he committed his changes to the cloud, Andy would download them in Massachusetts and load them on the robot and run it again so they could all see the results. This went on for over an hour.
|On the computer is Massachusetts, the phone kid is in Florida and we are in Michigan. They are programming and debugging the robot from three states.|
They don't take no for an answer. All the seniors are in different states on the last weekend to do work? That doesn't matter. We will work on the robot remotely and collaborate across three states. It just blew my mind so I had to take a picture. This is one of the reasons they win. They 'do whatever it takes', which is a line in a song by Imagine Dragons that all robot teams like to use for their robot reveal. But these guys really take it to another level.
I recall how many of you who I have met through the years have asked if the kids 'really want to do this', implying that I am forcing them to work on robots. You can't make anyone do this kind of thing - it comes from the inside. You can guide them and enable them, but you can't make them. They have to want it. And they wanted it.