Tag Archives: Robotics

Softec is Raising Funds to Provide Immediate Relief to SLOHS Computer Lab that Suffered Major Fire Damage

Softec has been supporting local high school robotics for over 11 years and has given over $37,000 – so when the computer lab that contains all the robots used by SLO High VEX Team 920 burns down, we react quickly.

For those of you who have not heard yet, San Luis Obispo High School’s Computer Lab that burned early Thursday morning. The alleged perpetrators have been caught but the damage is total and severe. Softec has long been a supporter of the computer lab in Room 307. We hope to help get the computer lab and its students back on track as quickly as possible.

Our Softec VP, Stewart Morse, is a former SLOHS parent and Robotics sponsor – he explained that “Room 307 has been a safe environment during lunch for kids to go advance their technology skills and create lifelong friendships.”

This must be an agonizing loss for Mrs. Fetcho and the students. Casualites include the robotics equipment that the students have been developing and building for several months for a competition this weekend and a statewide competition in January.

 We have worked with the SLO Community foundation to setup a tax deductible account. Please support SLO High School.

UPDATE: Over $15,000 has been raised so far!

Tax Deductible Donations can be sent to the Community Foundation
Or by Check:
Softec, a fund with the Community Foundation SLO

The Community Foundation San Luis Obispo County
550 Dana Street
San Luis Obispo, CA 93401

We also have a GoFundMe Campaign at:

Donations will go towards helping with the immediate replacement of computers, robotics equipment, desks, chairs, tools, etc. and equipment to support the clubs that met in that room.

Students make Robotics Great (Again)!

Last month over 700 people chose to invest in students instead of watching the presidential debates. Adults and kids alike enjoyed robotic creations and learned how to solve real world problems with technology – there was no accusations about 33,000 lost emails, missing tax returns, or negative jabs. Just passionate debates over battery technologies and construction materials.

SLO MakerSpace

From school robots to commercial drones, this event is designed to inspire creative technologies and encourage kids who have a talent for engineering. Grants are given to existing robotics teams and key connections and seed money provided to form new high school teams. Softec gave $7,500 in grants this year and $40,000 over the last 11 years.

RMD Robotics and Drones

Softec gave $7,500 in grants this year and $40,000 over the last 11 years.

Instead of going toe-to-toe on higher wages and better education, robotics clubs come face-to-face with real-world experience for our future engineers, business leaders and managers. Many teams have a marketing officer, treasurer, and HR director to account for the thousands of hours, ten of thousands of dollars, and relationships with sponsors. More than STEM – club robotics create opportunity for students of all talents teaching lessons more valuable than a typical child’s ‘first job’.

VEX Arena

Instead of a debate on higher wages and better education, robotics clubs create a real-world experience for our future engineers, business leaders and managers.

Softec and our sponsors take direct action to invest in our local economy. As a local non-profit software and technology trade association, we work to build and promote local events for our sponsors, and we focus this annual event as an investment in our students – where we create a multi-generational experience for all ages. And that is the truth – no fact checkers needed!  😉

Softec Robotics Expo – a unique intersection of learning and fun!

Softec’s 8th Annual Student Robotics Expo is this Monday, Sept. 26th at 5:50pm. This free event has packed the house each year – full of learning opportunities and plenty of fun.

What is unique about this robotics expo is the student exposure to more advanced robotics leagues and applications in the commercial industry to provide a taste of what their future in robotics can look like. Truly a multi-generational experience, with LEGO robots, full-sized and underwater High School robots – and commercial bots from the SLO County Bomb Sqad and drones used in the Wine Industry, there is certain to be something for everyone.

This event has grown in every way; in order to bring in new activities this year, we have moved to the Alex Madonna Expo Center! Last year we offered a Drone Obstacle course for the first time. This year we have a drone arena, bigger than last year’s course and located in the Expo Building to make piloting easier. So bring your drone or quadcopter – and compete for the best time in your assigned class.

The community’s support to put on this event has been amazing! CalFire will be providing a pool for the underwater robotics teams and we already mentioned the Bomb bot from SLO Sheriff’s Dept. Cal Poly’s Society of Women Engineers (SWE) and staff from Experts Exchange have offered to volunteer to help with setup and running the Drone Course. We also have several food vendors lined up: The Pairing Knife, RibLine, What the Truck, Paradise Shaved Ice, and Coastal Peaks Coffee

Several Robotics Leagues will be Represented:

  • FIRST – High School Robotics
  • MATE – Marine Advanced Technology Education
  • VEX – High school and Middle School Robotics
  • VEXiq – Elementary School Robotics
  • FIRST LEGO League – Elementary School Robotics


  • 5:30PM – Food vendors start serving
  • 6:00pm – The Robotics Expo Begins! Attendance is Free!

2015 Robotics Expo

The Robotics Expo is coming up and we are expecting an amazing year!

Last year we gave $6,000 in grants are are looking to you to give to High School Robotics programs.

As usual we will have areas dedicated to High School Robotics, Elementary School robotics, Commercial Robotics, and Clubs and Interest Groups.

New this year will be a Drone Obstacle Course in the back area bear the pool; so bring your drone and compete against your peers.

So come to the SLO Elks Lodge, Sept 28th at 6pm.

Please visit our page on the 2015 Softec Robotics Expo for more information.

Robotics as a Sport

For almost 20 years, Softec has been working to promote technology on the central coast.  From VC events like Tech Pitch and Startup Weekend to Dinner Panels, Open Houses, and TechBrew – these events have facilitated what we call ‘Softec Moments’.  Ideas are created, key people come together, businesses are formed, and connections are made.

This ongoing passion of technology, ideas, and networking have helped robotics programs sprout up in almost all our local high schools and is quickly trickling down to the middle and elementary schools.  This year will be our 7th annual Robotics Expo where over $6,000 will be donated to local high school robotics programs.

I can confidently say as president that we have accomplished what we originally set out thefutureto do, robotics is everywhere and GROWING.  But instead of moving on and looking for the next big thing, we want to double-down and propel school robotics to the next level.

Robotics programs have long-term benefits a students’ education and future career; by coupling the momentum of STEAM education and the teamwork and competition of Robotics organizations like: FIRST, MATE, and VEX – recognizing Robotics as a Sport is the next logical step.  Missouri and Texas have already taken this step and California needs to be next.

This growing movement is focused on robotics as a ‘Sport for the Mind‘ and fueled by universities (Bradley, UT Dallas, Minnesota State) and large organizations (FedEx, Qualcomm).  Now Softec is added to the list, we are casting our lot and hope to leverage the media attention at our Softec Robotics Expo to put a spotlight on this exciting movement.

Soon you can expect to see a formal Vison Statement from us on this topic.

Help Request from First Lego League Team

I received this email from a local First Lego League (FLL) team in Arroyo Grande.

If you have an interest in STEM education or knowledge of tutoring systems I am sure they would appreciate the input.  Because these are kids I am not going to post the email contact but you can reach out to me at bob@smsrd.com and I can connect you to the group.

Here is the entire email from the team:

Hi Mr Dumouchel

We are the Pop Tart Uni Kitties FLL team #1512 and we are working on our project for this year’s challenge “World Class Learning Unleashed.”  We want to make learning Math skills and processes easier and having access to learning 24 7 in different formats and approaches using different modalities than we have in our classrooms could do this.

We were inquiring if you thought that an interactive program or app would be worthwhile to write that could be used by the school districts  for tutoring students (and rehabilitation facilities for patients after brain injuries or strokes.) In approaching our school district and a few other teachers around we know that it would have to be secure, so that could be safe and controlled within a districts, schools or facilities with sign ins necessary. Admittedly we don’t have the first idea on how to even approach writing an program or application but figured we needed to find out how people thought that were involved in making things happen in our technological world these days right here on our central coast.

We do know that math skills are the basis for most of the technological jobs in today’s world and it is necessary to learn and retain these skills. We ourselves are all too much aware that learning them can be a problem, let alone remembering them after they are learned. Not all school districts use the same books or classrooms the same approach even though math skills are very much the same over and over and build on each other, so if you miss or dont understand a section you can get lost very easily. Some teachers use peer to peer tutors classrooms and this is much of the idea that has inspired our idea. It is positive and dosn’t take away from the limited time in the classroom or education day. Being peer to peer it is positive in nature not singling out students for “stupid kid” tutoring before or after school or during recesses to learn. These days we as students have multifunctional and active lives and our idea would take advantage of the extended day and busy schedules for learning

Our idea is affectionately called “Tutor Time” and we envision that the program would be a hybrid of the many web sites offering help in MAth and a skype, but directed to math skills and procedures only. We would want to take advantage of the basic three ways people learn Hands On, Verbal and Visual within the context of the site. Having per-recorded “tutor” sections of rote memory and a full range of basic math stepped skill sections from basic addition & subtraction on through geometry and algebra for students to go over at own pace to learn or refresh learning for those who are verbal learners. Then have somewhat of the same “tutor” sections in worksheet type formats and skill sections done step by step for rote memory for visual learners. Then for hands on learners much the same for visual but more sectional “to do” self paced worksheets that involve inactive use of counters and or on screen drawing to adapt the system for the hands on learners. We think that all these rote memory and skill sections should be organized and cross referenced in a data base for easy reference.

We would also want a real time access to “tutors” to answer questions. We do know that this part of our application or program could not be 24 7 but want to work it so it could be afternoon and evening hours at least while students do no have access to the teachers while doing homework. Our idea is to use students, older ones that have successfully passed the classes or skill sections and even grade level ones with clearance from their teachers, that would have to sign up. They could earn math credits or work experience for the time they spend helping other students that would have to be worked out per district, school or facility. This would enable the students that are tutoring to strengthen thier skills while the tutored student gain the skills. Teachers could also be involved and other adult volunteers who are kid safe could be too.

Well that is our idea more or less in a nut shell. What do you think?

Do you have any ideas or suggestions to help us develop this further?
Do you know anyone in our area that may have ideas to help us?

Thank you for your time


The Pop Tart Uni Kitties

Kaitlyn, Samantha, Kaillani, Sydnee, Hannah and Aubrey