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Monday, July 26, 2010

Riley Azron is a NOHO ROBO

Hey remember when I said I wanted this shirt.

 Well, I found out more than I bargained for. I came into contact with Riley Azron.  It's seems Riley is one of the reasons the shirt got made as he's part and one of the founding members of team NOHO ROBO.

I’m not sure you know, but the artist hired for the design was Kevin Tong. He’s a local LA artist and was part of a recent art show I blogged about  and visited called Crazy 4 Cult.

He’s unsure about what your team even is. He wrote on his blog, “The first is a t-shirt design that I did for North Hollywood High’s sports team. What sport that team plays still alludes me, but it’s a t-shirt, so it can be multi-use I guess.You said you hired a firm to do the design of this shirt. What firm? Where’d you get the money? Is robot fighting that lucrative? Does the school own the design or do you?
As far as I know, he works in some capacity for a merchandise company called Go Merch. Our team received a gracious donation from Pete Wentz which funded his creation of the awesome team t-shirt, and we've been selling it ever since. While Go Merch technically owns the design, they've promised not to sell it to anyone else without our permission, so we have control over it. Of course, t-shirt sales haven't accounted for much of our $12,000 (only about $700). Most of our money comes from corporate grants, received after I've emailed and called them repeatedly, or applied for a grant.
Could you please explain your robot fighting league in greater detail? Is it even robot fighting or is just building
The FIRST Robotics Competition (FRC) is a nationwide high school robotics competition in which high school teams get exactly six weeks to design, build and test robots to complete some task, which changes each year. After the build period, as these six weeks are known, the teams then pack up the robots and ship them to a drayage facility.A couple weeks later, the teams attend regionals in their states, where their robots (in crates) are waiting for them. The teams unpack the robots in their 10'x10' section of the "pit," and begin preparing them to compete in that year's game. It's a very exciting time, as the regionals are usually three days of non-stop activity.
This year's game was called Breakaway. If I had to sum it up in a single phrase, I'd call it soccer mini golf monkey bars. For a short video overview of Breakaway rules, check out the introduction video FIRST created. Don't mind how cheesy it is.

You were saying that your friends started the division at your High School, could you expand on that?

Last year, two of my friends and I started the FIRST robotics team at our school, North Hollywood High School (NHHS). Their names are Johnny Wang and Hans Susilo. All three of us are part of the Highly Gifted Magnet (HGM) at NHHS (we're so new that they haven't even put us up on the HGM website!). We've now grown to almost 30 members. Our team's name is Noho Robo, and our team number is 3328. You can find a little more information about us at our facebook page. Also, check out our video of last year's competition. It's pretty cool, though a little long

What’s your position or what do you do on the team?
As far as my personal position, I'm one of three team captains. That means that I not only coordinate the team, but I also head up fundraising, and work a lot on all the mechanics, electronics, and programming of our complex robot. "Fundraising?" you may say, but let me tell you, this competition is expensive! $6,500 entrance fee for new teams, as well as all the materials you want for the robot that aren't in the Kit of Parts (KOP). We raised almost $12,000 last year, and it was barely enough!
Does your school show you support?
Our school's support is luke-warm and more words than actions. While they enjoy the prestige that we bring to the school, they have no money whatsoever to give us, and have put us in a small room which was previously a math classroom, making it about as ill-suited a room for our needs as could possibly be imagined. It's small, carpeted (we can't pull up the carpeting because there's asbestos underneath it) and has steps. What we need is a true machine shop. In addition, the school will not give our team any way of getting into our own room, and requires us to leave very shortly afterschool, and not go on the weekends.
When we were on the phone you said, “…the shirt has sold more than the track team ever did!” What a bold statement, which I find hilarious. Please, tell me how many more than the track team?
Our t-shirts do sell well, because they're cool! I've had students buy them, teachers buy them, janitors buy them; students I've never met see me carrying the t-shirt box, and ask to buy one. It's great! Like I said, the track t-shirts are designed at our school, and are never as cool as this shirt.
You also said that during robot competitions. The other team would come up to you and say you had an okay robot, but you have a great shirt. They wear you shirts now. Other robot leaguers wear your shirt. You’ve got to feel glad about that.
And, yes, we had more than one team nearby us in the pit (see the video to get a sense of the place) which had a member come and ask to buy a t-shirt. That was awesome.
I’m not sure if you’ve heard of MPS INC. they’re trying to build a working bi-pedal robot and they’re local. They wish to do it with no funding or help by a university or major corporation leading me to believe that they don’t understand how stupid that is. The design of their bot seems ill-conceived and their attitude towards other robot builders seems arrogant since they’ve only built legs for theirs. I don’t know if I can take them seriously when the last event the attended was Anime Expo. Check out there site and tell me what you think and don’t ever get involved with them you seem to have future
About MPS: Their idea is interesting, but I can't find any real photos of the work they've done, and I've never heard of them. While I support their endeavor, I can't say I'd get involved. Good luck to them, though.
Finally, is there anyway someone could order your shirt right now? Prices please. Are you planning on getting a website to sell them? If not maybe you should
Lastly, no, there is not an official channel to order a shirt, which I regret. I'm told by Hans that we may have a site up for this purpose by the end of the year. Let me know if you've got any solid recommendations. We've got t-shirts in youth medium, XS, S, M, L and XL, $15.00 each.
Best of luck Riley. Unlike other people I've known from Highly Gifted Magnets your not a jerk.
If your team ever has a party rent Code of Silence where Chuck Norris teams up with a robot. It's so stupid it's funny.