No Roving Robot - Students design, build robot to perform specific task

AVERY - How do you get a robot to grab and throw 40-inch inflatable balls while circling a track? A group of EHOVE engineering students believe they have the answer and they intend to prove it.
Aaron Krause
Jul 25, 2010

 

AVERY - How do you get a robot to grab and throw 40-inch inflatable balls while circling a track?

A group of EHOVE engineering students believe they have the answer and they intend to prove it.

For the second year in a row, members of the EHOVE Engineering Technology course are participating in a robotics competition put on by U.S. FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology).

The Manchester, N.H.-based nonprofit organization's mission is to inspire young people to be science and technology leaders. The organization tries to accomplish this by engaging students in mentor-based programs that build science, engineering and technology skills.

FIRST's robotics competition is a nationwide contest in which high school students build a remote-controlled robot that competes with other student-built robots in a series of games. There are more than 1,500 teams worldwide.

The rules change each year. For this year's contest, "FIRST Overdrive," students' robots are designed to race around a track knocking down 40-inch inflated trackballs, and moving them around the track. The robots must pass them either over or under a 6 by 6 overpass. Teams score extra points if the robots position the trackballs back on the overpass before the end of the two-minute, 15-second match.

Teams must follow a thick rule book that includes other duties, such as creating a Web site documenting their project.

EHOVE's team, the Mavericks, have worked for six weeks to design, build and perfect their robot with various parts.

Their deadline to ship the robot is Feb. 19, and the team will compete against 43 others March 20 in Cleveland.

A championship event April 17 through 19 in Atlanta caps the season.

It may all sound daunting, if not impossible. But, the Mavericks have been here before and triumphed.

The Mavericks finished 44th out of 58 teams in the regionals last year and, 43rd out of 89 teams at the nationals. They won three out of eight matches at regionals, and four out of seven at nationals.

Judges at each regional tournament allow the best rookie team to advance to the national tournament.

The top rookie team was the Mavericks.

This year, they will compete in the Pittsburgh Regional March 13 to 15 and the Buckeye Regional March 20 through 22.

The team's ultimate goal capture the Chairman's Award, the competition's most prestigious honor.