Monday, April 29, 2013

Parents meeting a success! Kids already getting into it!

We had 7 families get together on Saturday to discuss the TATTS project, what we'd like our kids to get out of it, how to structure the project (foreshadowing, clear rules, promoting teamwork, etc.), as well as the schedule throughout the summer.  As always, I was impressed by the great ideas that the parents brought to the table both to help their kids be successful, but also to emphasize fun and teamwork.  We laid out the equipment pieces and parts on the table for all to see and gave the kids access to the simulator.

Kevin flying on the simulator!  He's a natural.

DJI F550 Flamewheel - parts on the table

Spektrum DX8 radio - "Lots of switches" is what everyone kept saying.

I was especially excited to see most of the kids hopping on the flight simulator and having a good time.  Here's a few clips:

Connor in the zone

Mitchell teaching his aunt how to fly

In my opinion, the best moment of all was when several of the boys were helping one of the younger ones learn how to work the simulator.  They were polite and kind.  Now that's getting off to a good start.

Kevin and Connor helping Elias Fly on the Simulator

Next weekend we meet again to get the full compliment of kids together.  We will review the project's goals and start building!

Monday, April 15, 2013

Parent Meeting Scheduled

As of today, we have 8 kids (ages 5-14) identified as possible participants in the TATTS project.  To get things started, we're gathering the parents on Saturday, April 27th to talk through the project goals, timeline and expectations.  We want to go the extra mile to understand each participant's desires and skills so we can ensure they have success.  We also want to be sure the parents know what they're signing up for!

Do you know someone who might want to participate?

We can't handle a great many more children but if you happen to know of a child who may want to participate in some capacity, please have that child's parents contact us and we'll do our best to accomodate them.  Have them email us at

Also, I'm heading to the Autism Society of Wisconsin conference in the Wisconsin Dells this Friday and Saturday and I intend to put up a flyer for the project with the primary intent of  making parents aware of the project.  If all goes well, we'll consider presenting the project at next year's event.

Monday, April 8, 2013

KickStarter Funds Are Here!

I'm excited to report that the KickStarter funds have come through!  We're ready to get down to business!  We will be ordering our first round of parts (the hexarotor itself, GPS, controller and 2nd radio) shortly and getting the kids organized.  Look for news soon.

We've done some flight simulator work over the past 2 weeks too that has been fun.  Our next post will have initial reactions and video footage of some of the kids trying their hand at flying.  It's harder than it looks! 

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Article in Professional Surveyor Magazine eNewsletter Pangaea

Thanks to Professional Surveyor Magazine and Jeff Salmon (editor for Pangaea) for accepting my offer to write a short piece on the TATTS project for their Pangaea newsletter.  Pangaea focuses on new technologies impacting surveyors and other professionals in the mapping/geospatial industry. 

I wrote the piece on the TATTS project to give the surveying and mapping industry exposure to how a different community is leveraging the same technology they are currently evaluating.  As a landscape architect, geographer and GIS professional working for a surveying and mapping company, I wanted my peers to see what amazing things are happening outside of their professional circle.  More importantly, I wanted to showcase a community of future employees to companies in this sector.

We are discsussing a more extensive print piece in the summer that will showcase the kid's activities once TATTS is literally and figuratively "off the ground".