The Remix Reboot

July 26, 2021 in Outreach by Scott Rippetoe

We are back. Texas Torque could not host The Remix this past fall, in 2020, for obvious reasons. After discussions with FIRST in Texas and campus administration, we will be hosting The Remix 2021 on October 2, 2021. Because the field for Infinite Recharge takes more time to set up than those from previous years, we are starting field assembly at noon on Friday, October 1. Teams are welcome to load-in any time between 6 and 9 pm Friday night or after 7:00 am Saturday morning.

One of the reasons we offer The Remix is to allow pre-rookie teams an opportunity to compete at a robotics competition with an FRC robot before they attend a district event. Because these teams often have no financial resources, we do not charge them to participate. To make matters worse, there are teams that did not get to attend an official event in 2020 or 2021. Many teams have new drivers and operators and do not identify them until the new school year starts.

We are going to try something a little different for workshops this year. We thought it would be helpful to have students from different sub-teams get together at lunch. They can talk shop while eating. We may still have a session dedicated to Chairman’s apart from the working lunch.

Texas Torque does not use The Remix as a fundraiser. Any profit remaining after we cover expenses go to support the Montgomery County Women’s Center. We also ask teams to bring a $10 LEGO set and a bed-in-a-bag set. The LEGO set will end up in the hands of a child at a local hospital. The bed-in-a-bag set will go to Angel Reach, a program for young adults that have aged out of the foster care system but still need support.

Details regarding The Remix are available here.

PPE for Education and Healthcare

September 21, 2020 in Outreach, Slideshow by Scott Rippetoe

When we started back in March, I never imagined we would be where we are now. So many people have contributed to our PPE effort and made a real difference for nurses, doctors, teachers, and many others.

I just want to share some information to help everyone understand how far-reaching this project has been and continues to be. Texas Torque has sent over 5200 face shields to just shy of one hundred organizations. One group we have supplied to are all the nurses throughout Conroe ISD. In addition, we have supplied ear savers for face masks and several intubation chambers.

Our initial GoFundMe raised approximately $20,000. We have received another $7000 from donations directly to our PayPal account. All of our PPE has been provided free of charge though we do ask for donations. Shipping is our largest expense after material costs. We current have $8500 which should keep us producing for another three to four months. At some point, we may need to make an appeal for more funding.

Our newest project is an effort to create hands-free sanitizer pump stations for classrooms, starting with those frequented by members of Texas Torque. Each station costs under $20 for all the materials and includes a 3D printed part to support the pump bottle. The FTC teams at The Woodlands High School are using our design to create stations for any teacher that requests one for their classroom.

Thank you for everyone’s support. In the midst of so much bad news, be proud that you have had such an amazing positive impact in the lives of so many.

Meet the FA-20 HBF

August 5, 2020 in Medical, Slideshow by Scott Rippetoe

Our latest effort to combat COVID-19 is a box fan pulling air through a HEPA furnace filter with a 13 MERV rating. You can find the CAD and more on GrabCAD at https://grabcad.com/library/fa-20-hbf-1. Total cost is under $100. We estimate it will turn over the air in a standard classroom about six times per hour.

We used 1/8″-thick neoprene, adhesive-backed foam tape to create the seal around the openings. It might be helpful to have different thicknesses available to allow for variances introduced when cutting the plywood. The filter is held in place by suction. The fan can be turned to different orientations to get the best seal.

Future upgrades include a handle mounted to the plywood mid-section for carrying, elastic cord to hold the filter and fan in place, and 3D printed inserts to create a better seal for the fan. We recommend purchasing your fan then taking measurements to make sure you get the best seal. Our unit was designed to use a Lasko COOL Colors Box Fan (Model B20301, SKU 0 46013 45492 8) available at WalMart.

COVID-19 is Still Lurking

May 5, 2020 in Outreach, Slideshow by Scott Rippetoe

While many places are starting to reopen for business, COVID-19 is still a significant concern. With stay-at-home measures in place and most businesses only open for pick-up, the infection rate was very close to 1.0, meaning one person was infecting one additional person. To see a drop in the overall number of new cases, that rate needs to be lower. Some states are achieving this, but with recent changes we may see an increase in infection rate.

The need for Personal Protective Equipment remains and probably will for several months, possibly into the summer of 2021. That depends on advances made in COVID-19 treatments, the development of a vaccine, the response by individual states, and the build up of immunity in the population. Some states still have intensive care units operating above capacity. Fortunately, Texas has excess ICU capacity. I hope we do not need it.

Thus far, we have distributed at least 1889 face shields, but we currently have requests for nearly 1700 more. We have supplies to make an additional 600 of the ProShield (1477 design) and 1200 of the Manta Ray Protective Visor. VEX Robotics has enough plastic to make at least 10,000 RobotShields (148 design). They are marked out of stock on the VEX Robotics website because they are working to take care of all their donation requests, including those that we can place with them as a partner in the Texas Robotics PPE Project.

Financially, we have over $13,000 in our PPE account, with about $1000 of that encumbered toward recent purchases. So far, we have paid for purchases using our PayPal account and kept that money separate from the team funds in our account at Amegy Bank. We also have team money in the Activity Fund of the Academy of Science and Technology. When a purchaser requires a credit card instead of PayPal, we have used our Amegy debit card then reimbursed the team with a transfer from PayPal. That is the encumbrance mentioned above.

We had a CAD challenge to design an Intubation Chamber. While it has not cleared hospital trials yet, we have applied for a patent. Michael Menezes came up with the basic layout and I contributed additional features based on feedback from medical staff. Here is the most recent photo.

Intubation Chamber Rev3

For now, there is not an urgent need for the team to raise more money for the Texas Robotics PPE Project.

Coronavirus Efforts: Update 4/23/20

April 23, 2020 in Outreach by Sammy Lo

We have recently made many developments in our efforts to help our community during these trying times.

Texas Torque has now surpassed the 1,000 mark for distribution of faceshields. This is a combination of the RobotShields and 3D printed face shields that were created through the efforts of Texas Torque families and other volunteers. We have also worked to provide 3D printed protective visors and Surgical mask ear lobe savers to medical professionals all around the state.

This weekend we are excited to test a new project at the HCA Healthcare Houston facility in Conroe.

We are excited that VEX Robotics has started shipping RobotShields. These come in a pack of ten for $40.  If you would like to contribute to the fight against coronavirus and have the means to do so, all proceeds raised on  www.robotshields.com go towards medical professionals. These shields also make great gifts for your favorite healthcare professional!

We are thankful to have been featured on  KPRC 2 News during a newscast (https://www.click2houston.com/news/local/2020/04/20/high-school-robotics-teams-making-3d-printing-face-shields-to-donate-to-healthcare-professionals-and-first-responders/) and have been posted on FaceBook by ABC13 News (https://www.facebook.com/watch/?v=2491205394488983).

As always, if you have the means to do so, we ask for continued support from our community either through a monetary donation to the GoFundMe link below. or by spreading these links and our message through social media or directly to friends and family.

https://www.gofundme.com/f/first-teams-for-ppe-face-shields

 

Coronavirus Face Shields: Update 4/19/20

April 19, 2020 in Outreach by Sammy Lo

Robotics teams around Texas have been working hard to deliver Personal Protection Equipment (PPE) to medical professionals both locally and across our state.The tremendous progress we’ve made has only been made possible because NEMA Enclosures, a longtime team sponsor, has started cutting the plastic for the face shields at 200 face shields per day and Texas Torque families have been assembling these face shields at their homes. In the last few days, we’ve assembled over 400 face shields and will have 400 more ready for assembly by Tuesday. Just yesterday, we provided more than 200 face shields to hospitals. Total output of face shields has exceeded 900 and we hope to continue to create these shields. So far we’ve delivered PPE to over 20 locations and this equipment is still in high demand as several locations are still waiting to receive supplies.
Below is a face shield worn by a pediatrician.
1926.jpg

We are also excited for VEX robotics who plan to ship RobotShield kits directly to healthcare providers tomorrow. Now, they have supplies to die cut about 5000 of these shields. As the plastic for these shields become easier to find, this progression has increased.

We are so thankful for all the donations we’ve received. Again, we still ask for continued support from our community either through a monetary donation to the GoFundMe link or paypal link below. or by spreading these links and our message through social media or directly to friends and family.

https://www.gofundme.com/f/first-teams-for-ppe-face-shields

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