By Graham Sturgeon, co-editor
TEAM FRIDGEBOT – The Corunna Robotics Team will compete this March at regional competitions at Kettering (March 4 and 5) and Mason (March 25 and 26). The team consists of high school students who are responsible for different parts of the project. Team members include Connor Surcek, Rebecca Walton, Jacob Cole, Charity Cummings, Oriana Butler, Cassie Stone, Jay Stap, Nicholas Mars, Shelby Vogan, Raymond Hudak, Eli Kinney, and Danny Brichan. (Independent Photo/Graham Sturgeon)
The Corunna Robotics Team, No. 5084, completed construction of their robot Tuesday, Feb. 23 and bagged it in preparation for their first regional competition, which will be March 4 and 5 at Kettering.
The team has had six weeks to design and construct their robot and they are confident this is their best work in the program’s three-year history. They are hoping to get over the hump and qualify for the state competition after narrowly missing out the past two years.
This year’s robot is designed to move in any direction, and it is equipped with an arm that will be used to pick up and throw a large ball through a target from approximately seven to 15 feet away. A camera is attached to the end of the arm to automatically detect the target, which is done by automatically searching for reflected light. The students rigged the camera with an LED light that will shoot light at reflective tape placed below each target, which will then be bounced back to the camera.
The task for the first competition will be to navigate through an obstacle course, and to pick up and fire several balls through targets. The robot will complete the challenge by hoisting itself up off the ground by grasping a bar, where it will hang until the challenge is complete.
The team’s lead mentor is Scott Stap, who has been assisted by other mentors Mary Warner-Stone, Russ Mars, and Jack and John Benjamin. Mars and Jack Benjamin have worked as UPS plant engineers, and John Benjamin is a robotics engineer. The group built their robot, along with a matching prototype, between the Mars farm on Lytle Road and at the Corunna robotics lab on campus.
Robotics projects can be expensive to finance, and the group has had the help of many area businesses and organizations, including SLH Metals, Inc.; 4th Rock Fabrication; North Newburg Masonic Lodge; Brotherhood DeMolay; Sisterhood Rainbows; Memorial Hospital; Midstate Bolt; Williamston Products, Inc.; SS Group Automotive; CASM; High Quality Glass; Stappy Wear; and Corunna High School. The team has multiple competitions to travel to in the coming months, and they will continue to accept sponsors.
The team members have spent thousands of hours combined working on this year’s robot, and everyone is really “excited and confident” about the season. Many of the students explained that the workshop setting has been beneficial to them in many ways. The hands-on learning experience is teaching the students life skills and they appreciate the different opportunities this club has given them. In addition to being part of a team, the youngsters are learning how to use many different tools and fabrication machines, and the experience has taught them more practical application of math and science.
*The Independent will feature other school robotic programs in upcoming issues.