TCP Junior Wins Robotics Competition

By: Jacob Holevar

                       Robots; portrayed in hundreds of movies, from the small square robot that makes toast, to the humanoid shaped robot that is better than humans themselves. For many people robots are a mystery, what are the built out of? How do they move? How do they know where to move to? How do they know what to say? The list goes on, questions about how robots interact with their surroundings. Well, for a small group of middle and high school students, the robotic world became a lot clearer over the summer.

            This summer, Yavapai College hosted a free robotics camp in which students learned about robots and then built their own later in the course. Miles Mabey, a sophomore at TCP participated in the camp over the summer, and he and his partner won the competition at the end.

            Mabey wants to work in robotic engineering when he graduates from college and he said that the camp was a great program because there was no prior knowledge needed to enter the camp. He also said that he enjoyed the camp and that he would recommend it to others, his only complaint was that he wishes it could have been longer, because he didn’t want it to end.

            “It was an awesome opportunity and I’m glad I got to experience it,” said Mabey.

            The first portion of the camp was devoted to teaching the students how to build and program the robots, and all of the students had to learn how to program the robots using only line by line code.

            “It was cool because the leaders of the program taught the participants how to program their robots so that anyone could participate in the program,” explained Mabey.

Mabey and his partner used this to their advantage and programmed their robot to reverse direction if it was approaching an area where the ground was white. This was a tremendous asset during the competition, in which the robots try and push each other out of a white rimmed circle on a black mat.

The robot parts which came in the kit weighed three hundred and fifty grams, about 0.77 pounds, but the robots were allowed to weigh up to five hundred grams, 1.1 pounds, in the competition. This allowed teams to customize their robots to an even greater extent, did they want it to be fast and mobile, or did they want it to be heavier so it could push the other robot more efficiently?

            The robot kits came with no instructions, only raw materials, and it was left completely up to the students to build, customize, and program their robot.

            Although Mabey won the competition, when asked, he said that his favorite part of the camp wasn’t building the robots or watching them compete, but rather, learning about robots that are used in the industrial world.

            This camp is a great opportunity for anyone interested in robotics, and since no prior knowledge is needed, anyone can join. Yavapai College is hoping to continue the program next year and offer the camp again, but with two workshops for middle and high school aged participants.

            If you’re interested in robotics, Rick Peters, the Pre-Engineering Program Director can be reached at rick.peters@yc.edu.

Advertisements
Comments are closed.
%d bloggers like this: