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MoCo teens share magic of robotics competition

  • Published in Local

Wizards.exe team members Rohan Dewan, Ishaan Oberoi, Devasena Sitaram, and Arjun Oberoi show their winning robot and the trophies they earned in recent international competition. PHOTO BY SUZANNE POLLAKWizards.exe team members Rohan Dewan, Ishaan Oberoi, Devasena Sitaram, and Arjun Oberoi show their winning robot and the trophies they earned in recent international competition. PHOTO BY SUZANNE POLLAK  There was no magic involved when the Wizards.exe came home from Detroit with the First Tech Challenge World Championship Inspire Award in hand, along with their robot, which took 10th out of 6,000 teams from around the globe.

Eleven Montgomery County teenagers have been working diligently since the start of the school year to build a robot that could differentiate colors, sense distances, and pick up cardboard blocks and then assemble them into a pattern – all within two-and-a-half minutes.

Ishaan Oberoi, a 10th-grader at Richard Montgomery High School, and his younger brother, Arjun Oberoi, an eighth-grader at Takoma Park Middle School, were in the car several years ago when they spotted a billboard for a robotics competition.

It sounded interesting, and “there was nothing much like this in school,” so the boys joined, said Ishaan. Their father, Pankaj Oberoi, agreed to be their coach, and they have been going strong ever since.

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Letters to the Editor, October 13, 2016

Robots and the school year?

To the editor;

“OK, robot waitress.  Your first recommendation was the slow baked salmon with lemon and thyme.    I’ll try that.  With the peas and carrots.  By the way, that is a snazzy outfit you’re wearing…. You’re welcome. ”  

In a few years conversations like this will become common.   More broadly, robots will increasingly perform many jobs now performed by humans.   We may expect that the robots generally will first be used to do repetitive physical jobs.   Jobs remaining available to humans will involve greater complexity and skill.  Less skilled humans will have a harder time finding work.   New kinds of human jobs will be created more slowly than traditional jobs disappear.

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Getting ready for your own domestic robot

Rosie the Robot

Today’s smart homes are still a far cry from the futuristic visions of the last century. Home automation has certainly advanced over the last one hundred years. Think about the washer and dryer, and even the personal computer. But what about robots? If you’ve seen episodes of the 1960’s TV show "The Jetsons," you remember how Rosie the Robot cooked, cleaned and was a companion for Elroy.  Rosie’s legacy has set the bar very high for domestic robots – and we are approaching that standard rapidly!

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Welcome my friends to the machine

Many erroneously describe Gordon Moore’s prediction as the doubling of computing power every two years. “Moore’s Law” is more accurately described as the doubling of transistors on a chip every two years. The point is that computer power is on a steep path of improvements; and the prediction has been accurate since Moore’s 1965 paper “Cramming more components onto integrated circuits” (Electronics; April 19, 1965). What does Moore’s Law have to do with real estate? Everything. Many industries have benefited as computer processing power increased – including real estate.

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