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Eye In The Sky: How One Young Entrepreneur Is Helping Keep The Lights On

Preparing for a drone test flight
Preparing to test flight drones developed to inspect power lines.

You may think it’s a coincidence that Michael Beiro lived in Edison, NJ until he was about nine years old, but it seems that some of that famous inventor’s talent rubbed off on Michael at an early age. “I have been interested in robotics and automation for almost as long as I can remember. I think I was about eight years old when I decided robots were the coolest thing ever,” he recalls.

As a homeschooled student, Michael’s mother, Lesley, encouraged his creativity and innovativeness. They visited museums and he tinkered with LEGO Mindstorms for years. Upon entering Maggie Walker Governor’s School, Michael joined the award winning FIRST Robotics Competition (FRC) Team 422, The MechTech Dragons. Remembering his first time on a competitive robotics team he says “FRC was my only extracurricular after that, and the build season ruled my life and my Dad’s. FIRST helped me realize I could help build creative solutions to tough problems, rather than just following instructions in a book. Working with a team of talented people gave me confidence and skills in design, prototyping, and project planning that I use every day.”

After pursuing an independent study program that focused on practical applications for drones and graduating from VCU’s School of Engineering in 2018, Michael began implementing the skills he learned through FIRST to develop new technologies while building his own business, Beirobotics.

Michael partially credits VirginiaFIRST, now known as FIRST Chesapeake Robotics, with equipping him with the confidence and skills to pursue his lifelong dream of working in robotics. Because of his experiences on a FIRST team, he gives back to his alma mater by volunteering in the MechTech Dragon’s Machine Shop and sharing experiences from when he was a student. “It’s awesome to watch new team members build their skills and feel that same sense of accomplishment I felt at their age.”

Team MechDragons
Michael Beiro and his FIRST Team MechTech Dragons

Michael’s current project is the design of a specifically equipped drone system to measure electrical resistance in power lines, which could detect possible failures before they happen. Working in partnership with RVA Aerial to test his innovation, Michael’s system can make physical contact with live power lines, something the industry has specifically shied away from before now.

Once the system is perfected, utility companies will be able to monitor power lines more safely and economically than the traditional bucket trucks and helicopters.

So, the next time you look up, you may see Michael’s technology at work, keeping costs down and the lights on for homes and businesses nationwide.

To learn more about FIRST Chesapeake Robotics, visit firstchesapeake.org or check out the FIRST Chesapeake District Richmond Event Sponsored by Dominion Energy at the Arthur Ashe Center, March 7th-8th, 2020. (Free to the public). FIRST Chesapeake is a 20 year-old Richmond-based nonprofit organization that supports over 300 FIRST Teams (7,000+ middle and high school students) throughout DC, Maryland and Virginia.

Article by: Leighann Scott Boland, Executive Director, FIRST Chesapeake