They saw what other teams were doing and thought they wanted a change.
Members of the Greenwood Community High School robotics team saw that other teams at competitions across the state had state of the art ramps with ways to pick up the blocks they were supposed to be picking up and stacking to score points.
They decided they wanted to improve their robot, said Collin Graber, senior at Greenwood Community High School.
That is what robotics teams are about: a group of students who are given the same task for their robot and are given months to find the most efficient way, and earn the best score, as the robot completes the assigned task.
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Teams spend months designing and tweaking their robot to make it the best before they perform in state competition.
Robotics teams from Greenwood Community High School, Center Grove High School and a Greenwood home school team, called Mecha-Hampsters, have made it to the Indiana First Tech Challenge state championship. In total, about 100 students are involved in the teams going to the state championship competition at Crawfordsville High School this weekend. Five teams will advance to the regional competition next month in Iowa.
Teams have to place among the top teams at several Indiana First Tech Challenge events across the state in order to earn bids to state. All teams registered in the event received the task in September and had to build their robot from scratch to compete against other teams.
Other robotics teams across the county compete in other competitions and will have their biggest and final competitions later this season in other robotics teams series.
This week for the teams has been about tweaking their robots to make sure that they are ready for the state stage, robotics team members said.
Members were tasked with building a robot that would pick up blocks or “relics” and then stack them, earning them points in the competition.
Students must plan, design, use CAD systems, 3-D print, use tools, machine parts, keep an engineering notebook and program robots to be successful, said Chris Campbell, robotics coach at Greenwood Community High School.
The Greenwood robotics team spent months looking at the different designs other teams had brought to competitions this year and made the decision to tweak theirs, Graber said.
“It is basically going through and putting all the finishing touches on it before state,” he said.
Each of their seasons started in September when the challenge was released to all the teams.
All teams then had to brainstorm the best way to build a robot that would score the most points in the time given.
Trial-and-error is abound, said Bethany Lengacher, a senior member of Mecha-Hampsters.
Their team made the decision to design a robot that would pick up the blocks, feed them through the robot and then take them to the other side, Lengacher said.
This way, other teams could not steal their blocks and the risk of what could go wrong would be minimal, she said.
“It is interesting to see how other teams approach the problem differently,” Lengacher said.
Problem-solving and teaching the students how to use different programs and skills is one of the big advantages to robotics, Campbell said.
“We have good kids that are dedicated and work hard,” he said.
Local robotics teams will compete in the Indiana First Tech Challenge state championship this weekend.
When: Saturday. Doors open at 7:30 a.m. Qualification matches begin at 10:30 a.m.
Where: Crawfordsville High School, 1 Athenian Drive, Crawfordsville
Cost: Admission is free.