FORREST – The future looks bright for local youth involved in a robotics competition.
Through the Boys and Girls Club, Eric Jones and Allison Pratt work with a company called First Robotics which teaches students from younger grades all the way through high school different aspects of engineering, programming and marketing.
Jones and Pratt displayed the robot during the recent Prairie Central FFA Farm and Home Show in Forrest, driving it up and down the aisles getting a few glances from show visitors. The robot will be used in the FRC Competition run by First.
“We use this cannon to basically fire it into a hole then there’s a spin table and color sensor that tells us which color we are on so we know when to stop,” explained Jones.
The machine also consists of an intake and hook. This isn’t considered a project but rather a fun aspect of competing. The first competition is slated for later this month.
“We are at seven weeks right now,” said Pratt. “It took a lot of watching videos to see what other teams did or what their ideas were.”
The kids had to figure out what type of motor to use and which kinds of wheels work the best.
According to the website www.firstinspires.org, the global robotics community prepares young people for the future and is the world’s leading nonprofit which serves youth and advances STEM education. Wikipedia states that teams of high school students, coaches and mentors work during a six-week period each year to build these game playing robots which weigh up to 120 pounds.
These robots complete tasks like making goals, hanging on bars, balancing and flying discs. The game changes each year along with the required rules. Participating teams are given a standard set of parts and are allowed a budget while being encouraged to make or buy special parts.