Grant Imahara — "Mythbusters" host by day and robot builder by night — stars in the FIRST Robotics instructional safety video from the Fabricators & Manufacturers Association International (FMA) and UL Laboratories. The six-minute production is featured online to be accessed by the 37,000 high school students participating in the FIRST Robotics program that kicked off nationwide on Jan. 3.
The video, which also features "guest appearances" by Sir Isaac Newton and Ben Franklin, highlights the importance of wearing safety goggles, proper footwear, protective gloves, ear protection and reporting all injuries. It also discusses how to properly use tools and power strips, and how to safely move completed robotic projects both in the workshop and during competitions.
The FIRST Robotics Competition challenges teams of young people and their mentors to solve a common problem in a six-week timeframe using a standard kit of parts and a common set of rules. Teams build robots from the parts and enter them in competitions judged by a committee of engineers and other professionals.
Imahara, a six-year FIRST Robotics mentor, believes that the competition is an ideal opportunity to get kids interested in making things. "I've found that students really dedicate themselves to the program," said Imahara. "Being involved in a robotics program has cachet for a young person. Activities like these that have a goal and real purpose behind them are easy for kids to get excited about — and hopefully will eventually lead to careers in manufacturing. Kids are learning incredibly valuable skills when they take a concept to completion and translate ideas into reality."
Watch the safety video online at www.fma-foundation.org.