Robotics attends kick-off day


Josephine Taitano

Senior Isaiah Oropeza measures one of the displays.

Josephine Taitano, Co-Editor-in-Chief

Students and teachers, crowded in a gym full of chairs, crowded around the big black curtains surrounding the playing field, anxious to get a glimpse of the challenge. The curtains slowly fell, revealing powerlines made of wooden planks and paracord.

The Robotics team traveled to St. Mary’s on Sat. 14 for kickoff day, the first day of the UIL Robotics contest, where all competing teams learned about this year’s challenge and received the kit of parts they must use.

“I’m excited,” senior Cameron Lyle said. “The challenge is definitely different from anything we’ve done before.”

The team’s robot has to repair downed powerlines on a simulated field.

“As we know of right now, the robot has to pick up a string of paracord to represent a cable and bring it up about four feet into the air and attach it to towers,” junior Kyle Simpkins said.

This year, the robot must form a series of actions without human input, which the Robotics team has never implemented in their robots before. Infrared sensors were included in the parts kit for this part of the contest.

“In previous years, everything was controlled by a controller,” Robotics sponsor James Wilcox said.

The sensors will be used to guide the robot along a black line on the ground toward the simulated powerlines.

“The infrared sensors we have sense light and dark,” Mr. Wilcox said. “The sensors will tell the robot what to do in each case, whether it senses light or dark.”

Including kickoff day, the team has six weeks to design, build and test their robot as well as creating an exhibit and presentation for the judges.

“As of right now, most of us have been working on new components like the infrared sensors I had to build,” Simpkins said. “The contest seems difficult, but it’s like that every year. It becomes easier when we have a robot and a goal in mind.”