High School Robotics Shifting into Second Gear
The high school robotics team has begun increasing their efforts in preparation for this year’s robotics competition. The robotics competition was founded by Dean Kamen and FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) in 1992. Their mission is to inspire young people to be science and technology leaders, by engaging them in exciting mentor-based programs that build science, engineering and technology skills, that inspire innovation, and that foster well-rounded life capabilities including self-confidence, communication, and leadership. Their vision as stated by the founder is "To transform our culture by creating a world where science and technology are celebrated and where young people dream of becoming science and technology leaders."
Our particular division within FIRST (there are three) is FTC (first tech challenge). This year’s theme is “Get Over It” and focuses on navigating multiple different terrain features (mountain, cliff, and a see-saw bridge) in order to gain access to scoring elements. Students need to acquire scoring elements from dispensers similar to the ones that dispense straws at a fast-food restaurant. They then need to score those elements in rolling goals that are spread out around the field. Students can accomplish this task during an autonomous period (no remote control) and then during a teleoperated period (remote control). The final challenge of the competition is to balance our robot on the see-saw bridge. Our team will be paired with one other team to compete against another two other opposing robots. Collaboration and strategizing will be fundamental components of this pairing system.
Our students are currently programming in the software platform Labview, a professional engineering grade programming platform, to prepare their robot for autonomous and teleoperated game play. They have also been building the mechanical functions of the robot to drive over the terrain features, dispense batons, and score batons. Our autonomous functionality has required the use of multiple sensors: touch, ultrasonic, and infrared. We also make use of multiple motor (servos and DC motors) and powering systems (gears or sprockets).
There are eight students on the team this year: Gabe, Melissa, Michele, Sam, Markus, Jairus, Ryan, and Dakotah. This year’s competition is being held on Saturday January 15th in Casper, WY and will host between 12-20 teams from Wyoming, Colorado and Montana. The winning team and the team that most enthusiastically embodies the ethos of the FIRST robotics mission (Inspire Award) will attend the national championship in Atlanta, GA next spring. Students are expected to collaborate with one another, display gracious professionalism towards competing teams, develop mechanically sound robots, produce successful autonomous programs, and spread awareness about robotics within the community. Our team is well along our way to produce a very competitive robot. Students are excited about the competition and are eager to compete in January. If you curious about any component of this after school program or would like to be mentor or support person for this program, please contact Ethan Lobdell at (307) 734-9855 or firstname.lastname@example.org
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