The FIRST Robotics Competition Team
This past month, StayLinked invited local robotics team members from FRC Team 4322 to participate in a software development challenge at StayLinked Headquarters in Tustin, California. FRC, which stands for FIRST Robotics Competition, is, according to their website, "an intense six-week competition that challenges teams of 20 or more students to raise funds, design a team "brand," hone teamwork skills, and build and program industrial-size robots to play a difficult field game against like-minded competitors. It’s as close to real-world engineering as a student can get."
Mentors lend their time and talents to guide each team, and for "The Clockwork Oranges", FRC 4322 from El Modena High School in Orange, California, that fearless volunteer leader is none other than StayLinked's own Vice President of Product Development, Mark McGary (pictured above, far right).
"These students work hard competing in the robotics competition. It's incredible what they're able to accomplish and it teaches them skills in all facets of business, " says McGary. "What we wanted to do with the StayLinked Internship was to give some of the team members a chance to participate in a real world business setting: real challenges, real stakeholders, real applications."
The Challenge: Build a StayLinked Web Utility
For the challenge, McGary issued the task of creating a software utility that could generate a configuration file for the StayLinked Client Extended Keys Toolbar. Not only that, it had to be web-based, user-friendly, and it had to actually work. "It's one thing to build a robot to field in competition, which is amazing," McGary explains. "It's another thing entirely to build software that potentially thousands of people are not only going to use, but are probably going to rely on to make their real-world business processes more efficient. That's a different kind of pressure." Once the challenge was issued, the young team responded.
The Results: Resounding Success!
What resulted was a functioning utility that is now available on the StayLinked Portal. "It's fantastic," beams McGary. "They were given a design, a list of requirements, and in less than one work week they'd created exactly what we asked them to create. What we didn't expect was the enhanced user experience elements they worked into the utility without even being asked. They got creative and it made a good utility even better."
In addition to the web utility being able to generate and export configuration files, the team envisioned a function that would allow users to import potentially complex toolbar configuration files and use the web-based utility to edit the toolbar in real-time.
"It was really cool," says McGary. "They totally understood what we were doing, they saw what was missing and they developed a solution."
See it in Action
Upon completing their internship, the young team has made available the web-based utility on the StayLinked Portal. And if you have portal access, simply login and navigate to The Extended Keys Toolbar Generator to see the tool in action. (If you don't have portal access, but would like to see the Extended Keys Toolbar generator in action, email EvalRequest@staylinked.com.)
And to learn more about FIRST and FRC Team 4322, you can visit them online at http://frc4322.com.
The Clockwork Oranges: FRC Team 4322 from El Modena High School in Orange, California.
For over 20 years StayLinked has been delivering world-class solutions for mission-critical, host-based systems in the warehousing, manufacturing, transportation, and retail industries. It was our deep understanding of these host-based systems that led our team of technology experts to introduce a new paradigm in terminal emulation and session management for mobile devices.
About FRC Teeam 4322
FRC Team 4322 is a FIRST team from Orange, CA that helps teach and expand science, technology, engineering, and math skills (STEM), gracious professionalism, and teamwork. A small group of students and professional engineers founded the team in 2011, and have tried to grow as a student-run club. Our school didn’t give us anywhere to start (no money, no lab), so we made use of an ancient auto shop (used by our school in the 80s) and converted it into our robotics lab that we use today, and received funding from several companies including StayLinked.