First Annual NTC & KAST RoboGames

In Brad Pommen - NTC RoboGamesNovember, 24 youth from Nelson, British Columbia and the surrounding communities competed in the first annual KAST “RoboGames” event for the region. Lead by Brad Pommen, the students competed in teams, each constructing their own robot for the competition.

The Kootenay Association for Science and Technology (KAST) and the Nelson Tech Club (NTC) organized the event. As NTC founder and president, Brad lead the middle school students through several sessions of training in computer programming and electronic circuit design, and ultimately each team completed construction of a robot entered into the competition. The competition demonstrated the creativity and energy of the local youth as they entered their robots in an obstacle course, mini-soccer ball grab and cool trick competitions.

Brad’s infectious energy and commitment to the kids’ learning experience was prominent throughout the entire five-week program and was integral in the success of the event. Because of his extensive professional guidance, technical expertise, and calm approach to problem solving, KAST has renewed the event for the coming year.

The RoboGames was the culmination of two years of volunteer mentoring and resource sharing, which Brad offers at the weekly public “hackerspace” at the NTC.  Since 2010, he has grown the local technology club to more than 140 regional attendees, who range from 7 to 70 years old, with a wide diversity of technology backgrounds and interests. The primary goal of the NTC is to drive technology and science innovation in the community, through the club’s motto: Build, Learn, Share. Recognizing the potential for these technology programs, local secondary school Selkirk College has given the NTC a permanent home to continue the profound growth of the maker space that “started in the back room of a computer shop” and helps connect the Canadian technology community.

To learn more about the Nelson Tech Club, click here.

Additional Reading:

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NTC – 2nd Place Finish

Brad Pommen - Nelson Tech Club - Tech Village 24h Web Dev Contest

Brad Pommen - Nelson Tech Club - Tech Village 24h Web Dev Contest

Team Leader and Hackerspace Coordinator of the Nelson Tech Club, Brad Pommen, led 2 high school and 2 college students on to win 2nd place in a local 24 hour web development contest. The team utilized strict HTML 5 coding practices, PHP on a Linux server and CSS validation to provide an elegant, feature-rich website for Gaia Services. Pitted against local professional businesses, this was an exciting win for the team and the growing Hackerspace, comprised of local technology enthusiasts.

“We didn’t use any existing templates or CMS systems to get started,” commented team Leader Brad Pommen “In the spirit of the competition we literally built the site from the ground up and coded it all by hand.”

Sean Melvin, owner of Gaia Janitorial Services was so please with the site he received from the competition that he doubled the second place team’s winnings out of his own pocket.

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Writing On Stone

Design and production of cedar display carvings, depicting historic petroglyphs, on display at Writing On Stone Interpretive Center, Alberta.

Client: Alberta Parks & Recreation, Writing On Stone Interpretive Center via Shamrock Hutterite Farming Colony, Bow Island, Alberta.

Process: Manual conversion of the static images to digital line art, importing the completed drawings into AutoCAD for scaling and tooling assignments, generation of CNC code to be machined by Shamrock Colony.

Final products were  scaled at approximately 24″ x 36″ in solid cedar timber.

  • Writing On Stone
  • prairie-chicken
  • Writing On Stone
  • bear-paw-2-petroglyph
  • bear-paw-petroglyph
  • Writing On Stone
  • bison-petroglyph
  • Writing On Stone
  • stolen-horses
  • Writing On Stone

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Braille Tutor

This program was written as a tool for sighted people (including myself) to learn and identify braille visually, through a flash card interface.
The program is written in PHP & MySQL with all source code and database information available freely for download, use and reuse. The graphics are not actually images, but dynamic tables with background colors, but dots could also be used instead.

Braille is a dying language. In 1960, 50% of legally blind, school-age children were able to read Braille in the U.S.According to the 2007 Annual Report from the American Printing House for the Blind, there are approximately 57,696 legally blind children in the U.S. Out of those school-age children, only 10% use Braille as their primary reading medium. I took it upon myself to learn the basic grade 1 alphabet and a few conjunctions to help myself recognize Braille in my daily life. Also, after watching, “The Book of Eli“, I figured I could do my part to save a little bit of humanity.

: )

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Up Your Alley Ink

3D design and CNC machining of MDF sign for Up Your Alley Ink, Coaldale, Alberta.
Final airbrushing and veneering after being mounted to frame.

Sign scaled to 48″ wide, machined out of 3/4″ MDF.

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Fire Sun

Concept was to create a unique wall hanging, based on “Fire Sun” art. 3D Design and Relief CNC Machining of 3/4″ MDF.

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Flaming Skull

3D Design and Relief CNC machining of MDF “Flaming Skulls”

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