Believe it or not, my sister, Christina, has been eagerly counting down to this very week for many, many months...but not for the same reason we have been. It just so happens that our baby's due date is one day before the DARPA Robotics Challenge Finals. This is an international robotics competition that my brother-in-law has been involved with for literally years now as he has worked tirelessly towards earning his doctorate at MIT.
Curious to see what Team MIT's robot for this final challenge looks like? Check out this promotional video in which my brother-in-law can be seen no less than 10 times in about 3 minutes (can you tell that I'm more than just a little bit excited for and proud of him?):
The last qualifying round of the competition took place a year and a half ago in Florida (conveniently while we lived there), which means the finalists have been working nonstop ever since to enhance and ideally perfect their robots. If you're anywhere near LA, you should definitely check out the competition this June 5-6 which is FREE and open to the public (and you should make sure to cheer for Team MIT)!
Additionally, if you would be so kind to offer up prayers for my sister this week I would greatly appreciate it. My brother-in-law flew to California today and will be working with his lab-mates all week long on final preparations for the competition - which means my sister is home alone with their 3 children (ages 4 and under) for the next four days until she flies coast to coast with all 3 of them...BY HERSELF(!).
Unfortunately I won't be too much help to her because I'm kinda sorta waiting to have a baby any day now. However, if there's anything that weeks and weeks and weeks and weeks (years?) of her husband's time-consuming lab work has prepared her for, it's this. At the very least, I'm convinced she'll get some quality time off of purgatory. ;)
Thank you in advance for any and all prayers for Team MIT, for many graces for my sister, and for this little boy I'm eagerly waiting to meet face to face. It should be an exciting week for our family!
"The DRC is a competition of robot systems and software teams vying to develop robots capable of assisting humans in responding to natural and man-made disasters. It was designed to be extremely difficult. Participating teams, representing some of the most advanced robotics research and development organizations in the world, are collaborating and innovating on a very short timeline to develop the hardware, software, sensors, and human-machine control interfaces that will enable their robots to complete a series of challenge tasks selected by DARPA for their relevance to disaster response."