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Archive for Monday, February 18, 2008

Students gear up for competition

Lawrence High School team’s robot to be tested next month

Ian Nelson checks on the robot created by a team of students at Lawrence High School during a practice exercise after class Monday at the Lawrence Virtual School, 2145 La. Nelson, a freshman at Kansas University, is a former LHS student who is a member of the robotics team.

Ian Nelson checks on the robot created by a team of students at Lawrence High School during a practice exercise after class Monday at the Lawrence Virtual School, 2145 La. Nelson, a freshman at Kansas University, is a former LHS student who is a member of the robotics team.

February 18, 2008

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LHS robots ready to rumble

Local students are gearing up for a fierce competition, and they'll have to drive their way to victory. 6News reporter Lindsey Slater has more on the mechanics of the Lawrence High Robotics Team. Enlarge video

It stands 12 feet tall and weighs more than 100 pounds. Pose it just the right way, and the robot looks like the skeleton of a Tyrannosaurus rex that is ready for battle.

The machine is the brainchild of the Lawrence High School robotics team.

For six weeks, the high school students have gathered after school and on weekends. They've dreamed and schemed and riveted more than they care to recall as the robot took shape.

"It's a lot of hard work," said Garrett Gabel, a sophomore on the team. "You've got to deal with a lot of people for six weeks and a lot of stress."

The team will compete March 6-8 in the Greater Kansas City Regional contest of the FIRST Robotics Competition in Hale Arena of The American Royal Complex.

The team spent Monday evening testing their creation in the gymnasium of the Lawrence Virtual School.

They directed the robot through a course similar to the one it will face in competition. The battery-powered robot buzzed around the carpet on its six wheels, at times seizing a giant ball that weighed 7.5 pounds and measured four feet in diameter.

The team members - many envisioning futures in science and engineering - looked on.

"It definitely is a good idea, and it's well-implemented in this case," said Charles Frager, a sophomore. "It has a few flaws, but those are definitely minor ones."

Frager listed the robot's strengths.

"It can move the ball up and down on three axes," he said. "It has both offensive and defensive capabilities. It can push the other team's ball completely out of the way if necessary - even while we're holding our own ball."

In competition, the robot will have to pick up the ball and carry it. It will be directed by team members using remote control.

After weeks of work, the team is eager to compete. The regional competition offers numerous awards, including recognition for quality, inspiration and innovation. Winners advance to a national championship. And scholarship dollars are also part of the pie.

"The crowd is very huge," said Nels Hotvedt, a senior who has been to competition before. "It's up to 500 people in that stadium, and the people are like, 'Go, go, go.' It's that intense. It's about the intensity of a football game."

Comments

justthefacts 6 years, 1 month ago

This is seriously cool stuff! Good going to all involved, and I look forward to follow up stories!

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compmd 6 years, 1 month ago

Last winter, several local engineers were at a workshop for students from the KC area (including Lawrence) to provide insight, thoughts, and review of their robots. I was impressed with what many were able to accomplish especially given the limited selection of parts they were allowed to use. It made me very happy to see how excited and intense these kids were about their creations. They brought back fond memories of my Battlebots days.

Good luck to the Lawrence kids again this year.

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Eric Neuteboom 6 years, 1 month ago

All you old people out there, listen up! The robots are coming, and you need to be sure you have your robot insurance. Don't get caught off guard! Click the link below for more information:

http://snltranscripts.jt.org/95/95foldglory.phtml

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LRT 6 years, 1 month ago

The best place to meet the team would be at the competition, March 7th & 8th, at Hale Arena in KC. You can watch a few matches and see 55 different ways to attack the problem. It is an event unlike any other and I highly recommend going if you can.

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seriouscat 6 years, 1 month ago

This is really neat! Is there any chance that younger students in Lawrence might get to meet the team and the robot up close and personal?

I hope so!

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Pywacket 6 years, 1 month ago

I'm so glad to see the local robotics team getting some recognition. I hope the LJW will send a reporter & photog. to the competition. It's great spectator entertainment, and these kids deserve all the local support they can get. They put long hours into this endeavor.

Another admirable factor is that kids are drawn from all over town--it's one time when LHS and FSHS (and, I believe, Bishop Seabury students have taken part, too) are working side by side on a common goal, sharing ideas and work, on one city-wide team.

It's not uncommon for KU students like Ian (in photo) to come back and lend their experience and expertise to the younger students. Way to go, robotics team!

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