CRANE, Ind.—An engineering team of Naval Surface Warfare Center, Crane Division (NSWC Crane) recently established their first Cooperative Research and Development Agreement (CRADA) with a secondary school. The project is funded through the NSWC Crane Naval Innovative Science and Engineering (NISE) program.
The Quadrangles for Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology (FIRST) robotics team based out of Bloomington High School South has set out to develop robotic vehicles with wireless power capabilities. During the school year, the Quadrangles compete from Jan. to April, with six weeks to create a robotic project and six to eight weeks of competition.
"Engaging the Bloomington South High School students in the design and development of the robot's base has given them a chance to use the skills they have developed in FIRST robotics and apply them to a real world application," said Chris Hacker, Power Systems Engineer at NSWC Crane.
Hacker, who graduated from Purdue University, started working at NSWC Crane in 2007, and began coaching the Quadrangles team in 2010 in conjunction with the Department of Defense Science and Technology Engineering and Mathematics (DODSTEM) program. Other mentors participating in the collaboration include Ben Cerveny, an electronics technician of NSWC Crane, and Cindy Kvale, a science teacher and STEM robotics coach at Bloomington High School South.
Through this program, students from the robotics team will design a mobile and remotely controlled robotic base structure to meet government detailed specifications. They will then provide the design to the government along with a bill of materials. After review and approval, the government will provide the required materials, and the students will complete the assembly. The final product the students create will be used by the U.S. Government for technology demonstration and evaluation.
The intention of this mutually beneficial collaboration is to inspire and support a new generation with the challenges of the ever growing field of robotics. While the Crane team is inspired by the fresh perspective the students bring, the students will benefit from their Crane connection as they enter the workforce and pursue a career in technology.
NSWC Crane's Technology Transfer (T2) Program helps link federal research and development to academic institutions and businesses in the private sector. A CRADA provides the formal mechanism between the federal laboratory and partner collaborator. The NSWC Crane T2 program has partnerships with more than 100 businesses, individuals and universities. Currently, there are 100 active CRADAs and 225 active agreements.
NSWC Crane is a naval laboratory and a field activity of Naval Sea Systems Command (NAVSEA) with focus areas in Expeditionary Warfare, Strategic Missions and Electronic Warfare. NSWC Crane is responsible for multi-domain, multi- spectral, full life cycle support of technologies and systems enhancing capability to today’s warfighter.