Engineering rubber meets road in robotics competition

Sophie Oswald does some final assembly work to her team’s robot before Saturday’s competition.

Hood River Valley High School's Engineering II class has final exams, of a sort, this week that put several months' worth of work to the test in a matter of just a few minutes.

Both teams started the semester with a box full of parts, a computer and a basic understanding of robotics from the prior Engineering I class.

The objective was simple, yet very complex: Design, build and program a robot that can be both autonomous and remote-controlled, to eventually compete in end-of-the-term contests against other schools on a standard set of challenges.

With one contest under their belt from the weekend, the teams travel to OMSI this weekend for a second chance at qualifying for the First Robotics FTC state competition set for next month.

"The teams have done a great job working through the challenges of building and programming these robots,"?said HRVHS teacher Jeff Blackman. "The programming they use is "Robot-C", which is a derivative of C++. That's the main language of computer science these days, so learning it is extremely useful for the future."

Blackman said funding for the robotics kits and computers came from Google grants, and Juanita's Foods sponsored one team.

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