With a recent trip to Westmoreland County Community College, Mar 13, the BOTSIQ program of Southmoreland was able to show off some of their hard work.
Mr. Christopher Pollard is the resident Southmoreland High School teacher coordinating the program that is currently in the fifth season.
“The robots ran well, but it’s hard to know how well because there are three rounds,” said Mr. Pollard. The competition at WCCC was merely a seeding round for the larger competition at California University of Pa in April.
Though the competition is based around robots fighting with each other, there is much more to it than that.
“It’s a paperwork game,” Mr. Pollard said. With the complex subsistence of the robots, there is a need for more than just the fighting as there is “planning and designing” that also goes into the work of making the best robot possible for the competition.
“It’s where this idea came from, where that idea came from, it’s not just smash,” said Mr. Pollard. With over 75 teams in the robotics, Southmoreland is represented by 2 teams in the competition-the Nightcrawler and Bar.
The almost entirely new Nightcrawler robot has been described as a “bulldozer” is forced to use a defense strategy competing without having an offenseive weapon. The Nightcrawler robot is produced by a team captained by Ian Megala, sophomore, and Senior Deavan Jacobs for the competition on Mar 13.
“Extremely stressful,” said Jacobs on the environment of the competition. “Paperwork is necessary, people may think it’s just screwing stuff together but it’s not. There’s a lot of math, measuring, problem-solving issues.”
Southmoreland also entered the robot Bar in the competition. Bar is mainly an offensive robot with the objective to “flip other robots.”
“We didn’t change a lot from last year,” said senior Travis Jones, who controls the robot during the competition. The Bar has a rotating drum with 40,000 rpm, creating a traumatic attack force.
The team had prepared for a nice showing at WCCC; however the Bar was forced to compete without a weapon following a malfunction at the event.
“It was really stressful, especially when we got there and our weapon didn’t work,” said Jones. The team will be awaiting results and refocus on preparing for the next competition at California.
The BOTSIQ program has enabled many students to discover new interests in robotics, while also allowing students to explore depths of the engineering process that goes along with building the bots.
“A long interest in robotics,” continues Megela, “idea of building a robot appeals to me…love working with my hands.” The program has allowed students like Megela and Jones, who enjoys the engineering process, to enjoy the robotic process and learn more about robotics and the process behind creating them.
The Southmoreland robots will be back at it on April 24 and 25 with a competition at California University of Pa.
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