ION North Star Section Outreach Activities

The North Star section had a successful demonstration for the Snow Plow Competition at the St. Paul Winter Carnival. It was wet, but many people toured our display and expressed interest. You can read more about the Snow Plow Competition and Winter Carnival display at . The Snow Plow Competition was written up in the ION National newsletter. The article can be viewed at Winter ION Newsletter pg 12.

In addition, to the Winter Carnival we have been investigating having a regional competition for the ION’s Mini-Urban Challenge. More information on the Mini-Urban Challenge can be found at   We are considering a demonstration of the Mini-Urban Challenge in conjunction with the Snow Plow Competition at the Winter Carnival in Jan 2011. If successful we would sponsor a regional competition for the 2010-2011 school. The regional competition would be held at the same time as the Winter Carnival in Jan. For the demonstration the section will need to program a Mind-Storm to navigate through a small “city.”

After reviewing the status and plans for the Snow Plow Competition it was decided that the Section should put together an autonomous Snow Plow for use during the Snow Plow Competition at the Winter Carnival in Jan 2011. This vehicle would be designed to meet all the requirements of the competition and be able to host “snow plow” application software. The purpose of this vehicle would be to provide teams a method to enter the competition without having to build a vehicle. The design of this vehicle is considerably more challenging since the vehicle design must be robust to ensure that the vehicle remains safe when the “snow plow” application software is installed.

If you are interested in volunteering to help develop the Mini-Urban Challenge demonstration or to assist in developing the Section’s autonomous snow plow, please email Chuck Bye at