On Friday May 1, DISTek hosted about 50 junior high ALPHA (Talented & Gifted) students from Holmes and Peet Junior Highs in Cedar Falls. These students completed a 6-week unit in January and February on careers and were interested in engineering fields. The purpose of their visit to DISTek was to learn more about the various types of engineering.
After graduating in December of 2013 from Iowa State with a degree in Electrical Engineering, I set out on the quest for my first job. The search began shortly after graduation in San Jose, CA, the heart of Silicon Valley. I soon found that Silicon Valley has a very competitive job market with little room for the new guy. After 6 months of searching, I brought my search back to the Midwest and contacted Jeff Sandvold who I had talked with at the Iowa State career fairs. After a phone conversation and a very long skype interview with everyone at the Cedar Falls office, I found myself making the 2000 mile journey across the country to start my first job here at DISTek.
The Cedar Falls Regional Qualifier for FIRST LEGO League (FLL) and the Cedar Falls Regional Expo for Junior FIRST LEGO League (Jr. FLL) took place recently at Peet Junior High. DISTek and its people are very active in supporting FIRST related teams. There were at least three DISTekians who served as coaches or mentors for FLL teams and one DISTekian who was the coach for a Jr. FLL team. DISTek was also a sponsor of multiple teams.
|photo: arduino.cc||photo: ni.com|
The Arduino and chipKIT microcontrollers are popular for students and hobbyists alike. They provide various interfaces that can be used to interface with a myriad of devices and sensors. These interfaces include, but are not limited to, digital I/O, analog input, I2C and SPI communication, and PWM. Microcontrollers have been used for many varying projects from basic data logging to home/environment automation and robotics.
Last week I attended the NI Architect Summit, and I saw some patterns emerge while sitting in on the frameworks track. All of the framework content was related to challenges in LabVIEW Object Oriented Programming (LVOOP). LabVIEW is sold as a software tool for scientists and engineers, yet also provides features including LVOOP for advanced users. The takeaways below speak to the challenge of transitioning from a procedural single-threaded dataflow design to a parallel messaging architecture using LVOOP.
DISTek fully supports STEMS (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) education and the development of the next generation of engineers. Many DISTek employees have volunteered to work with FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) Lego League programs at the elementary school level, and robotics programs at the secondary school level.
The FIRST website describes the program: