TRC’s FIRST Tech Challenge







An experienced scientist and photographer, Benjamin Perlin combines artistry and science in creating the best possible images by implementing new darkroom techniques such as solarizing and cyanotype. Benjamin “Ben” Perlin has a member of the Tennessee Robotics Club (TRC) for eight years now.

TRC is an educational non-profit which aims is to provide learning opportunities for the students in Middle Tennessee, particularly in robotics. TRC is supported by the Middle Tennessee Home Educators Association as an educational institution sponsor and the NASA Robotics Alliance as robotics program growth sponsor.

TRC implements two levels of robotics program: the FIRST Tech Challenge, which is for students in grades 7 to 12; and the FIRST Robotics Competition, which is for students in grades 9 to 12. FIRST stands for “For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology.”

In the FIRST Tech Challenge, teams with at least 10 members take on the challenge of designing, building, programming, and operating robots to compete in a head-to-head challenge. The teams are supervised by adult coaches and mentors. The challenge provides students with opportunities to harness their STEM skills and to apply engineering principles. It also teaches them the significance of innovation and the value of hard work.

Additionally, students are taught to raise funds, market their brand, and participate in community outreach. Moreover, students have the chance to access millions of dollars in college scholarship grants.


MTRAS Helps You Learn How to Solder




Photographer Benjamin “Ben” Perlin is based in Nashville, Tennessee, where he volunteers for several nonprofit organizations in his spare time. Interested in emergent technology, Benjamin Perlin is a longtime member of the Middle Tennessee Robotic Arts Society.

One of the primary functions of the Middle Tennessee Robotic Arts Society is to help members become more proficient in fundamental technologic skills. One of the ways the organization does this is through a video series focused on teaching the basics of soldering — the process of using a material called solder to permanently join one metal to another. This technique is most commonly used to affix materials to circuit boards.

It is important to use solder to join components to the board if one wants a circuit to last for more than a few days. Not only is the soldering material a good adhesive, it is also very conductive and promotes the flow of the electric current between components. Visit to see the video series and learn more about the fundamentals of soldering.

Society of Automotive Engineers pic

SAE International Announces New Autonomous Vehicle Competition


Society of Automotive Engineers pic

`Society of Automotive Engineers

Tennessee native Benjamin “Ben” Perlin divides his time between numerous different hobbies and interests. He is a photographer, philanthropist, and engineering enthusiast. Benjamin Perlin belongs to the Middle Tennessee Robotics Club and helped build the electronics for a racecar for the Society of Automotive Engineers.

The Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) International, a global organization that promotes and develops automotive engineering and aerospace, recently announced a new competition focused on autonomous technology. Developed through a partnership with General Motors (GM), the competition is called the AutoDrive Challenge and is part of SAE International’s Collegiate Design Series. It will task college students with developing and demonstrating an autonomous driving passenger vehicle.

SAE International and GM plan to hold this competition over the course of three years. Up to 10 teams from universities will be asked to join the first AutoDrive Challenge competition and SAE International will announce these inaugural teams in April 2017. Participating students will receive a Chevrolet Bolt EV from GM to use as the platform for their vehicle and will develop cars that will allow for testing and modification. SAE International and GM hope that students will focus their designs on such technologies as machine learning, artificial intelligence, and vehicle sensors.

Robotic pharmacist pic

Three Useful Innovations in Robotics

Robotic pharmacist pic

Robotic pharmacist

Benjamin (“Ben”) Perlin works at the Habitat for Humanity ReStore, which resells building materials at affordable prices. With a focus on disciplines such as neuroscience and computer engineering during his postsecondary education, Benjamin Perlin developed and maintains an interest in robotics.

The integration of artificial intelligence and robotics has led to the creation of useful robotic innovations, including the following:

Robotic pharmacist. Since 2011, the University of California, San Francisco, has used an automated hospital pharmacy that safely dispenses medication. The system was recognized for reducing the risk of human error, which mostly manifests itself during the selection and delivery of medication. The robotic pharmacist packages, labels, and stores the medication according to a patient’s needs.

– Japan’s robot hotel. The Henn-na Hotel in Japan integrates advanced technology to make all of its services efficient and automated. From its multilingual robot receptionists to its porter robots, Japan’s robot hotel has revolutionized customer service. The Henn-na Hotel also utilizes a face recognition program for hassle-free registration and room access.

Digital barista. Coffee company and manufacturer Briggo replaced baristas with automated coffee kiosks capable of delivering brewed coffee in less than 30 seconds. Through an online account, customers can customize their coffee preferences and order it at any Briggo machine.