By Pam Harnden, Staff Writer
JAY — Tuesday morning, students were test driving or making last minute adjustments to their robots during the summer robotics camp held at Spruce Mountain High School.
This year the camp, sponsored by Spruce Mountain Area Robotics Team (SMART), was held in the high school’s Technology Lab rather than at the middle school where it had been held in previous years.
Nigel Pulk came up with a different design for his robot. It features double wheels on the back that can rotate 360 degrees. On the front is a three-pronged rotating propeller to knock soda cans down with.
“His robot is pretty cool,” technology teacher and SMART mentor Daniel Lemieux said.
Nigel is attending camp for the second year. He will be a fifth grade student this fall.
The camp is a SMART fundraiser that trains students for LEGO League programs. It also encourages STEM subjects (science, technology, engineering and mathematics).
A robot created by Quinn Fournier, Owen Schwab and Ava Coates featured a swing arm on the front to knock cans over. It had a second motor on the back and a used one ball rather than rear tires for turning.
Eighth grader Quinn is attending camp for the fourth time. Ava, a seventh grader, first attended camp last year while classmate Owen is attending his third camp.
Lemieux said teams had access to two complete game set-ups from last year’s LEGO League competitions. Teams would also compete in the game Twelve Ounces of Fury. The game was created last year by SMART member Orion Schwab.
Fifteen students are attending camp this year, down from 20 last year, Orion said.
He modified his game some this year. Blockers were added to make it more challenging. With fewer campers, individual teams will be competing against each other instead of alliances made up of two teams.
Before the first qualifying round, Orion explained the many penalties team members should avoid. For every foul, the team loses five points. Technical fouls result in a can being moved to the competing team’s field of play. Two fouls are given if one team interacts with the opposing team’s robot.
During the first 15 seconds, the robots move autonomously while attempting to knock down as many of the twelve cans on the field as possible. In the following two minutes fifteen seconds, the robot is driven through an iPad operated by a team member.
One robot tipped onto its side during the first qualifier. The driver didn’t stop directing the robot which continued to move and score points. The other robot got stuck and eventually fell, limiting the number of points it was able to score.
Afterwards, Eugene Atwood said, “The robot did better when it flipped over!”
Before the next qualifying round, Zachary Donald and Jonathan Groomes made modifications to their robot. Seventh grader Zachary, in his third year at camp, considered attaching a crane. Jonathan, a fifth grader attending camp for the second time, suggested adding a spinning propeller instead.
Orion said each team would compete in four qualifying matches over Tuesday and Wednesday. A winning team would be declared prior to the end of camp Thursday.