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Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade: Brought to you by… robots!

November 27, 2013

This year’s traditional Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York City will have a new twist, as teams of high school students and their robots from around the country are opening the parade.

The students are representing FIRST Robotics Competition, which was founded by inventor Dean Kamen to inspire interest and participation in science and technology. FedEx has been a proud supporter of FIRST for 13 years, and we’ve donated shipment of the robots to New York for the parade.

The teams that will lead the parade are listed here. Watch them on Thanksgiving morning, and follow their experience through their eyes via their social media:

We caught up with some of the teams and asked these brilliant students a few questions. Here’s what the students had to say.

1. It’s Thanksgiving: What is your robot most thankful for?

Raider Robotix:
Our robot is thankful that it still has working motors and a charged battery. Some of its earlier brothers have met gruesome fates on the scrap pile

Texas Torque:
Our robot is most thankful for the opportunity to inspire young students in our community and help them realize that science and technology can be fun. It is also thankful for the intelligent students that built and programmed it so well.

Delivery of FRC robots2. What is your team most excited about seeing in New York City?

S.P.A.M. Robotics:
We are most excited to see the inner workings of the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.  We will have a front-row seat to behind-the-scenes events. For the most part, we’re engineers.  We live to see how things work.  It’s going to be great!

The Holy Cows:
We are looking foward to experiencing everything about being in New York City, except for our mentors none of us have been there. We are excited to skate in Rockefeller Center, tour Yankee Stadium, walk through Central Park, eat at The Broadway Deli and visit Ground Zero.

3. How can robots help improve parades in the future?

S.P.A.M. Robotics:
Robots can improve parades in the future by being interactive with parade attendees or the audience at home.  Wouldn’t it be cool to tweet to the robot and the robot could tweet back during the parade?  Or wouldn’t it be cool if the robot could send street view picitures? 

Bomb Squad:
Robots can improve parades in the future by helping fly the balloons.

Raider Robotix:
Robots can help by marching en masse like a full sized marching band. We bet that if there were a set team and enough training time they could put on a “precision flying” show as they roll down the street. We imagine robots with accompanying flying drones that follow them.

[Images below: FIRST Robotics group team photo, practicing parade distance, robot crated up and transported by FedEx Freight]

FIRST Robotics collage



    Patty O'Rourke says:

    I am so proud of my nephew, a member of 180 SPAM robotics in Stuart, who’s team led the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. Thank you, FedEx, for helping make this special day happen for them!

    jey says:

    I like this a lot…

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