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HRV prepares for weekend’s robotics competition

Three members of Team Duct Tape — builder Victoria Ervin, left, programmer Jason Barringer and builder Robby Running — put the finishing touches on their robot before this weekend’s FTC qualifier meet in Hood River. The community is invited to come (best viewing time will be between noon and 4 p.m.) and see all of the teams in action. Team Duct Tape members not pictured are Nash Levy, Alejandro Robules, Theodore Giles, Charlie Bickford and Marshall Bailey.

Photo by Trisha Walker
Three members of Team Duct Tape — builder Victoria Ervin, left, programmer Jason Barringer and builder Robby Running — put the finishing touches on their robot before this weekend’s FTC qualifier meet in Hood River. The community is invited to come (best viewing time will be between noon and 4 p.m.) and see all of the teams in action. Team Duct Tape members not pictured are Nash Levy, Alejandro Robules, Theodore Giles, Charlie Bickford and Marshall Bailey.



Students packed Hood River Valley High School engineering/math teacher Jeff Blackman’s robotics classroom Wednesday after school in preparation for this Saturday’s First Tech Challenge (FTC) league qualifier competition. Winners will advance to super qualifiers, to be held at a later date.

The Jan. 27 event opens at 8 a.m., but Blackman said the best viewing times will be between noon and 4 p.m., when the robots will be battling in the Commons. Sixteen teams, from Hood River, White Salmon, The Dalles and Dufur, will attend. HRVHS will have nine teams in the ring.

This year, explained FTC Team Duct Tape builder Victoria Ervin, a junior, the teams have designed and programed their robots to make a 4x4x4-block wall as well as collect colored “jewels” (balls). The robots must work autonomously for the first 30 seconds, and then can be controlled via remote for the next minute and a half.

Ervin said in FTC, two teams of two robots (four robots total) compete at a time. Students design and build their robots using materials in Blackman’s classroom — lots of aluminum and plexiglass. They use a 3-D printer and laser cutter to create parts, then assemble the robot. Each costs between $600-$800, she said, so fundraising is important, especially since entry fees for competitions can run as high as $400 — or more.

Blackman said that volunteers are needed, and those interested can just show up and he’ll find a place for them.

Across campus, a robotics first for HRV was under construction. Six students — sophomores Saylor Sundby, Clayton Lee, Corbett Blackman and Ben Fick, junior Jack Schofield and senior and team captain Levi Geller — will be entering the First Robotics Competition (FRC) for the first time. Blackman said he hasn’t had a team entered in this competition before because of the $10,800 entry fee, but this year he had a group of seasoned students in need of a bigger challenge.

The team — named A05 Robotics (the number on Blackman’s classroom, “because we got kicked out of the classroom,” Geller explained; the robot is too big to be constructed inside) — has only six weeks to construct their robot and are in week three. The challenge: To create a robot that can grab and lift blocks at least six feet to place into a goal … that’s a teeter totter.

This competition will take place March 3 in Oregon City.

photo

Members of the first-ever HRV FRC robotics team work to construct “Otis,” named after the elevator company, for a competition March 3. The team has only six weeks to construct their robot and are in week three.



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